New Lion King Was A "Huge Disappointment" Says Elton John, Who Wrote Music For It
"I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect."
The new Lion King movie was a "huge disappointment" to Elton John, the rockstar legend who wrote music for the original movie and the new one. Speaking to British GQ, John said he was particularly let down by the music, while he said he also feels that he wasn't welcomed or "treated with the same level of respect" as he was on the first movie.
"The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up," he said. "Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."
John co-wrote the song "Never Too Late" for the new Lion King. His credits on the original animated movie were far more extensive and memorable. With writing partner Tim Rice, John wrote numerous songs for The Lion King, including "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," the latter of which earned him an Oscar win for Best Song.
Going back to the GQ interview, John said the soundtrack for the new Lion King "hasn't had nearly the same impact" on sales charts as the 1994 original did. He pointed out that the original movie's music album was on the top of the charts for a long time, and in total it sold 15 million copies. The music business world is in a very different place now in 2019, with physical sales plummeting and digital services like Spotify on the rise.
Still, it can be said that the music from the new Lion King is not lighting the world on fire like the original did. "The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success [of the movie]," John said of the new album.
He added that he wished Disney consulted him more for the new Lion King. "But the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect," he said. "That makes me extremely sad. I'm so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical."
While John may be disappointed by the new Lion King, the movie was a tremendous success commercially. It has earned more than $1.65 billion worldwide, making it the most successful animated movie in history and among the highest-grossing movies overall of all time.
The new Lion King currently stands as the No. 7 highest-grossing movie in the history of cinema, only behind Jurassic World ($1.67 billion), Avengers: Infinity War ($2.048 billion), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.068 billion), Titanic ($2.18 billion), Avatar ($2.78 billion), and Avengers: Endgame ($2.79 billion).
Despite its beloved inspiration, The Lion King 2019 got only middling reviews on GameSpot sister site Metacritic, and in GameSpot's Lion King review. In particular, many critics suggested the remake was too faithful to its source material, while its more realistic animated style sacrificed some of the original's expressive tone.
"Maybe it's smart of Disney and director Jon Favreau to leave well enough alone and simply try to recreate the original's magic with contemporary technology and actors," Michael Rougeau wrote. "Incredibly gorgeous visuals, a star-studded new cast, a punched-up comedic script, and a new Beyoncé song will no doubt be enough to get plenty of fans--of all ages--into the theater to see this movie. But in the end, Disney is just repeating history, and that makes the new Lion King simply good, not great."
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email firstname.lastname@example.org