The studio closed its 90-minute presentation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with “The Circle of Life” opening sequence to Jon Favreau’s “The Lion King,” which opens July 19, 2019 — 25 years and a month after the original.
The footage appears to mirror the opening minutes of the 1994 animated blockbuster in which King Mufasa’s newborn son, Simba, is presented to the animal kingdom at Pride Rock by Rafiki the baboon, the shaman and adviser to Mufasa. Rafiki, who has the same colorful facial markings as in the animated film, rubs Simba’s face with red dust before presenting him.
Exhibitors were also impressed by the early footage from “Dumbo,” directed by Tim Burton and loosely inspired by the 1941 animated film. The period movie includes Danny DeVito as the circus ringmaster and Michael Keaton as the owner. The footage included image of the CGI pachyderm with massive ears, but did not include any actual flying by the elephant.
“We had to hold something back,” said newly named distribution head Cathleen Taff, who presided over the presentation.
Attendees also gave a positive response to footage from the live-action “Aladdin,” starring Will Smith as the Genie. The film — a remake of the 1992 animated hit — also stars Mena Massoud with Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar. It is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2019.
“Disney knows how to do it,” Smith said in a clip. “This is going to be beautiful.”
Disney has continued to exert its box office dominance in recent years with an array of live-action remakes of its animated films, including “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Jungle Book,” and last year’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which grossed $1.25 billion worldwide.
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