The Lion King began life under the title King of the Jungle. Oliver and Company director George Scribner developed the project and came up with many of the familiar names like Timon and Pumbaa. After a year of development, he left the project over creative differences and Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff came on to direct.
Borrowing elements from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Bible stories, classic mythology, and African folk tales, The Lion King tells its mythic coming-of-age story with a combination of spectacular visuals and a groundbreaking musical score. Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the songs for the film, and Hans Zimmer won an Oscar for writing the film’s score.
During its release in 1994, the film grossed more than $783 million worldwide, becoming the most successful film released that year. It still holds the record as the highest grossing traditionally animated film in history, and belongs to an era known as the Disney Animation Renaissance.
Produced by Don Hahn, The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The Broadway production of the film still runs every night in cities around the globe.