Following the world premiere of Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King in Hollywood last night, critics immediately took to social media to share their glowing reactions to the film, which many of them hailed as “a visual masterpiece” and “absolutely breathtaking.”
The film’s premiere and rave reviews come on the heels of reports that the Jon Favreau-directed remake of the 1994 animated classic stands to make upwards of $150 million when it opens in theaters next week on July 19, though some analysts are predicting that it will likely open well above expectations.
For The Lion King, Favreau assembled an ensemble voice cast that includes the likes of Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Keegan Michael Key as Kamari, Eric André as Azizi, John Oliver as Zazu, and Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, with James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa from the original.
“It is a director’s dream to assemble a talented team like this to bring this classic story to life,” Favreau said when the cast of The Lion King, which is the third live-action remake to be released by Disney this year behind Tim Burton’s Dumbo and Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, was first revealed in 2017.
You can read some of the first reactions to The Lion King below.
#TheLionKing is exactly as advertised: a beat-for-beat remake of the original. Impressive animation and some ace casting choices (Beyoncé is a spirited Nala, John Oliver is an ideal Zazu) plus that music is still 👍👍 – but it’s more nostalgic rehash than fresh reimagining
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing is a landmark *visual* experience. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I think it’s going to change how we look at movies forever.
As an *emotional* experience, though…I’ll put it this way: It turns out lions can’t really emote.
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) July 10, 2019
Holy smokes, I really loved THE LION KING. I think (I think) it’s the most beautiful effects movie I’ve seen. Like next level, the game has changed kind of thing. (For the record I’m agnostic on the original movie and have zero nostalgia for it. Anyway, this movie hooked me.)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) July 10, 2019
Oh man #TheLionKing delivers. It’s a visual masterpiece that will leave you smiling and crying the whole time. It’s a true testament to the lasting effect Disney movies have on all generations. Timon and Pumbaa steal the show. And BEYONCE!!! #LionKing
— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) July 10, 2019
There’s enough new content to make it feel fresh (plus some genuinely hilarious new jokes from Rogen/Eichner — no one made me laugh harder) and they really nailed recreating the most iconic sequences. I found myself walking out immediately wanting to watch the original.
— Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) July 10, 2019
#TheLionKing has always been my favorite Disney animated movie and this new rendition is a beautiful reminder why. Happy to welcome back familiar chills, emotions and tears. In awe of the visual wizards behind this one. Timon & Pumbaa are everything. pic.twitter.com/IcWHgjHCuF
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) July 10, 2019
— Umberto Gonzalez (@elmayimbe) July 10, 2019
David Fincher, Robert Towne begin development on ‘Chinatown’ prequel series at Netflix
Per Deadline, Fincher and Towne — the latter of the two having won an Oscar for his screenplay for the film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway — have closed deals to begin working on a pilot script for the series.
The duo will also executive produce the project, which centers around “a young Jake Gittes (played by Nicholson in Polanski’s film) as he plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involves areas like land, oil, and gangs.”
Fincher has reportedly expressed interest in directing an episode of the yet-to-be-titled series, though his current deal with the streamer only includes the pilot script and his handling of directorial duties would have to be negotiated into the agreement.
Netflix has developed quite a relationship with Fincher over the past several years, having collaborated with the director on series such as Love, Death & Robots, House of Cards, and Mindhunter.
Fincher’s latest collaboration with Netflix — a feature film about the life of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz titled Mank — stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Collins, and is expected to begin shooting in Los Angeles later this month.
Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver to be honored with acting award at Santa Barbara Film Festival
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced Monday that it has selected Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Performers of the Year award for their work in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
The two stars — both of whom are considered to be major players this awards season — will be honored during a ceremony at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara on January 17, where Martin Scorsese and Renée Zellweger are also set to receive awards.
“Scarlett and Adam have had such admirable arcs to their careers — making smart choices between independent films and big Hollywood franchises. They both are such lyrical performers, imbuing their acting with keen sensitivity and intellect. Together in Baumbach’s Marriage Story, they regaled us with their best work to date,” SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said.
Previous recipients of the award include Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney for I, Tonya, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for La La Land.
Marriage Story, which features an ensemble cast that also includes that likes of Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Wever, is currently playing in theaters in select cities and will begin streaming on Netflix next month on December 6.
Nicolas Cage to play Nicolas Cage in meta drama ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’
In a rather extremely unexpected development, Lionsgate is close to nearing a deal to acquire the rights to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a film that will find Nicolas Cage playing none other than Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, centers on a fictionalized version of Cage who “is desperate to get a role in a new Tarantino movie while also dealing with a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.”
The plot only gets more bizarre from there, however, as Cage “is also under a mountain of debt and finds himself forced to make an appearance at the birthday party of a Mexican billionaire, who happens to be a fan of Cage’s work.”
It isn’t long, though, before Cage finds out that the billionaire “is actually a drug cartel kingpin who has kidnapped the daughter of a Mexican presidential nominee,” and that he will need to go undercover for the United States government to gather intelligence.
Gormican and Etten’s script reportedly features references to Cage classics such as Face-Off, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gone in 60 Seconds, and is tonally similar to JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme and Get Shorty starring John Travolta.
Cage is currently in talks to join the meta movie project, which has Gromican attached to direct and Kevin Turen to produce along with Cage and Mike Nilon.