Disney Announces ‘Lion King’-Inspired “Protect the Pride” Global Conservation Campaign

If you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom at all you cannot miss the fact that a lot of what Disney does there is related to conservation.  Over the years this has not only been a focus of the park but also the company in general.

Today, the Walt Disney Co. announced a global conservation campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing lions and other wildlife across Africa, which was inspired by the upcoming release of The Lion King.

Named “Protect the Pride,” the campaign focuses on protecting and revitalizing the lion population, according to Disney.

Disney is lending support (and has already donated more than $1.5 million) to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), which aims to double the lion population across Africa by 2050 through efforts that engage communities to ensure a future for African wildlife and their habitats.

Disney plans to double the $1.5 million through additional grants, as well as participation from fans, for a total contribution of up to $3 million, according to the company.

“Disney is committed to supporting lion conservation efforts and we believe The Lion King is the perfect story to remind us of the role each of us has in ensuring a world where these majestic animals are treasured and protected,” Elissa Margolis, senior vice president, enterprise social responsibility for The Walt Disney Company said in a statement. “Conservation has always been a core value of The Walt Disney Company and that commitment is apparent in everything from our films to our theme parks and is why we created the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF).”

Recently, Disney assembled more than 80 of the world’s leading lion conservation experts, from 18 countries and representing more than 50 organizations, to develop strategies to address challenges facing lion populations and to ensure a future for the species during the the first Lion Footprint Forum at Walt Disney World Resort, according to the company.

Additional information about the LRF’s lion conservation efforts may be found at LionRecoveryFund.org.

Cast for Live Action ‘The Lion King’ Announced

The live-action take on Disney’s The Lion King, coming to theatres in 2019, definitely has the lion’s share of amazing voice talent ready to bring these classic characters to life. James Earl Jones previously announced he would be reprising his role as Mufasa, and Donald Glover shared that he “just can’t wait to be king” as Simba in the upcoming film. Ready for even more star power? Beyoncé Knowles Carter––yep, Beyoncé!––will voice Nala, Simba’s lifelong friend and eventual love interest. Taking on the voices of the dynamic duo Timon and Pumbaa are funny guys Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen. Alfre Woodard will voice Sarabi, Chiwetel Ejiofor will lend his voice to the mischievous Scar, and John Oliver will take on the sensible Zazu. See the full cast below!

We just can’t WAIT to see The Lion King! Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting film.

From D23

D23 Expo 2017 Summary – Live Action Presentation

Hollywood’s biggest names in acting and directing… Surprises at every turn… Compelling stories and sneak peeks that had us on the edge of our seats. The Hall D23 presentation from The Walt Disney Studios this morning at D23 Expo featured all of these and more!

Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn greeted the 6,800 fans who had just watched a sizzle video that spotlighted some of Disney’s recent hits and upcoming films. “I know those guys. They’re friends from work,” he joked, echoing Thor himself in the trailer for Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. And, he added to the crowd’s great delight, “We have a lot of them backstage.”

Always one of the most eagerly anticipated presentations at D23 Expo, there were indeed a lot of stars and filmmakers taking the stage in Hall D23—and announcements and unexpected treats galore. Here are just a few of the moments we’ll remember long after D23 Expo concludes:

“Everybody here gets a poster! Everybody here! You get a poster!”
Sure, fans were excited to learn they’d be going home with a teaser poster for The Walt Disney Studios’ upcoming film A Wrinkle in Time, which opens in theaters on March 9, 2018. But to be told that news by brand-new Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey only made the gift that much more exciting.

Winfrey (who plays Mrs. Which) joined director Ava DuVernay and co-stars Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who), Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), and newcomer Storm Reid (Meg Murry) in Hall D23. The epic adventure is based on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel, which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and ultimately, the triumph of love.

DuVernay described Disney as “the perfect place” for A Wrinkle in Time. Thrilled to attend her first D23 Expo, DuVernay told the audience, “I found my tribe—people who love movies as much as I do.” She also debuted the first trailer for the film:

Wrinkle In Time Trailer

A First Look at The Nutcracker and the Four Realms—with an Exclusive Live Dance Performance
Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, introduced us to The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, acclaimed director Lasse Hallström’s spin on a story that has been beloved for generations. The film, which will be in theaters on November 2, 2018, stars Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Mackenzie Foy and Richard E. Grant, as well as Morgan Freeman in the iconic role of Drosselmeyer. Music and dance are essential to the film, Bailey stressed, and he revealed that the incredible stylings of Charles Riley, known as Lil Buck (picture below), are being used to create the film’s Mouse King. The character will be made up of thousands of mice, made possible through cutting-edge CG, Bailey said. Expo guests were treated to a special performance by Lil Buck that gave us a glimpse into the hypnotic, fluid dance style we’ll see from the Mouse King when the film opens next year.

A Practically Perfect Glimpse into Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall and actress Emily Blunt talked about the upcoming film, which flies into theaters on December 25, 2018. Speaking reverently about the original Mary Poppins film, Marshall said, “I think it was my first film. I think it was many of our first films. There’s something so amazing about it that lived with me my whole life.”

When it came to stepping into Disney Legend Julie Andrews’ shoes, Blunt stressed, “No one is ever going to out-Julie Julie Andrews.” To make the character her own, she explained, “I needed to try to pay homage to Julie but carve out a new space for myself. And we were very loyal to the books.”

The film was shot on location in London—which Marshall characterized as a special experience—and he said that audiences will recognize Cherry Tree Lane immediately. They might also recognize a piece of furniture, Marshall noted, sharing a photo of a table that’s part of the set for Mary Poppins Returns that also appeared in the original film.

Leaving fans with “a little something”—an understatement—composer Marc Shaiman led an orchestra in a performance of a piece of the original score, which played over a series of images from the film. It was a supercalifragilistic-Expo-alidocious moment, if ever there were one.

Dumbo is Coming!
Director Tim Burton sent a greeting to Disney fans from the set of Dumbo, which is currently in production in London. Additionally, Bailey showed fans a maquette that was created to help bring the beloved baby elephant to life via state-of-the-art visual effects. The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks), Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (Birdman, Beetlejuice), Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, Big Fish), BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Dark Shadows), and introduces Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins in their first film roles. Dumbo is slated for release on March 29, 2019.

The Lion King Looks Amazing!
The Walt Disney Studios presentation at D23 Expo 2015 gave Disney fans a first look at The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, who was on hand again this year and received a standing ovation after showing footage from the upcoming live-action The Lion King. The photoreal interpretation of the film’s “Circle of Life” sequence featured beloved characters, including Rafiki, Mufasa, and an impossibly adorable baby Simba. Favreau, a lifelong Disney fan himself, told the excited crowd, “We like to check in with you.” His first question upon embarking on the film was, “When’s D23? We wanted to give you the first look.” The film is slated for release in 2019.

News from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson took the stage at his first D23 Expo today, revealing that he began his career at Disney Channel, working in on-air promotions. As much as he loved that job, he says that making Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been the time of his life.

Johnson introduced stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendolyn Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, and, of course, new Disney Legend Mark Hamill. Johnson and his cast wouldn’t reveal much about the upcoming film—in fact, they wouldn’t really reveal anything, though Hamill confirmed that we will, indeed, hear Luke Skywalker speak in this film. He referred to the movie as a “game changer,” and noting, “When I read the script, there were so many unexpected elements.”

Johnson and the cast then offered up a behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opens in theaters on December 15, 2017.

Avengers—and More—Assemble!
Kevin Feige is Marvel Studios President—and he’s also a massive Disney fan and a card-carrying D23 charter member who has been coming to D23 Expo since the first Expo in 2009. Feige explained that next year will be one of celebration—in honor of the 10th anniversary of Marvel Studios. It’s going to be a big year for the studio, and fans can look forward to what Feige calls “the biggest production in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—Avengers: Infinity War. The film is filming now, Feige said, but a slew of Super Heroes—and a fearsome villain—were able to take time away from the production to surprise Disney fans at Expo. In the most Marvel-ous gathering of stars ever, Feige welcomed Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Josh Brolin, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, and Pom Klementieff to the stage, along with one of the film’s directors, Joe Russo.

“Even I find myself geeking out,” Feige joked, as the assemblage continued. The crowd was on their feet long before Robert Downey Jr. demanded, “Let’s see it”—“it” being an exclusive early look at footage from the movie.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War, an unprecedented cinematic journey 10 years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, opens in theaters on May 4, 2018.

James Earl Jones and Donald Glover Cast in Disney’s Live-Action “Lion King”

Donald Glover is going to be the mane event in Disney’s live-action version of “The Lion King.” And he’ll be joined by an actor whose voice is as legendary as they come.

Glover has been cast as Simba in the studio’s new take on the 1994 animated classic.  James Earl Jones has also come aboard the project. He will play Mufasa, reprising the role he previously voiced.
Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Taylor Thomas shared the role of Simba in the animated film, voicing the older and younger versions of the character, respectively.
Director Jon Favreau broke the news on Twitter.  He tweeted a picture of Glover with a caption referencing “Lion King” tune, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”  A subsequent tweet was accompanied by a photo of Jones.  “Looking forward to working with this legend,” he wrote.
Disney later confirmed the casting news in a press release.
The high-profile role will add yet another job to Glover’s already full plate.  In addition to starring in and executive producing FX’s “Atlanta,” Glover just inked an overall deal with the network in January under which he will develop new series.  He was also cast as young Lando in the Han Solo standalone film late last year.
Jones joins the project after just recently reprising another famous voice role of his — Darth Vader in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Favreau signed on to direct the live-action “Lion King” film in September, hot off the success of his “Jungle Book” reimagining.
“The Jungle Book” grossed $966 million worldwide.
From CNN

Disney Launches ‘Lion King’ spinoff ‘The Lion Guard’

Lion Guard

After a 3-D re-release and 2½ sequels, Disney will be expanding the Lion King universe again with The Lion Guard. The new television franchise will launch with a TV movie premiering in fall 2015; a series will follow in early 2016 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

The show will follow Kion, the second-born son of Simba and Nala, who leads a group called the Lion Guard that protects the Pride Lands. Mufasa, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu and Kion’s older sister Kiara will all make appearances, but the show will focus on the creatures of the Lion Guard, a series of new characters including a honey badger, a cheetah, a hippo, and an egret.

The producers of The Lion Guard are also pulling in “wildlife education experts” from Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park to consult on the show. In addition to the usual themes of family and friendship in Disney’s media, the company said The Lion Guard will incorporate conservation as a theme, and presumably its role in the great circle of life.

Walt Disney Records Announces The Legacy Collection

The Legacy Collection

Walt Disney Records’ newly created line of collectible CDs, Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection, will celebrate the anniversaries of Disney’s most cherished and classic properties that have been enchanting audiences for generations. Through 2015, Walt Disney Records will celebrate 12 anniversaries including Pinocchio (75th), Fantasia (75th), Cinderella (65th), Lady and the Tramp(60th), Sleeping Beauty (55th), Mary Poppins (50th), The Lion King (20th), and Toy Story (20th), among others.

Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will get a chance to hear some of the music before it’s released during the D23 Disney Fanniversary Celebration roadshow, which will tour the country later this year, and D23 Members have the opportunity to purchase the complete collection with a special set of exclusive prints at a special price.

To honor these musical landmarks, Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection will feature the beloved original soundtracks, plus valuable documentary content that tells the story behind the music. Each album will feature newly created artwork from Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios (TangledWinnie the PoohWreck-It Ralph). The illustrations, inspired by the original properties, will celebrate Disney’s rich heritage and create a unified look for the entire collection.

The 2014 release schedule for Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection follows:
• The Lion King, June 24, 2014
• Mary Poppins, August 26, 2014
• Sleeping Beauty, October 7, 2014
• The Little Mermaid, November 17, 2014

The 2015 release schedule for Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection follows:
• Fantasia, January 3, 2015
• Pinocchio, February 3, 2015
• Toy Story, March 17, 2015
• Disneyland, April 7, 2015 
• Lady and the Tramp, May 12, 2015
• Pocahontas, June 23, 2015 
• The Aristocats, August 14, 2015
• Cinderella, August 14, 2015

The first release in the series is The Lion King, a two-disc set featuring the original motion picture soundtrack, 30 minutes of previously unreleased score, plus liner notes by Don Hahn (producer) and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. Track list follows:

Disc One
1. “Circle of Life/Nants’ Ingonyama” Performed by Carmen Twillie, African Vocals Performed by Lebo
2. “Didn’t Your Mother Tell You Not to Play With Your Food” Score
3. “We Are All Connected” Score
4. “Hyenas in the Pride Land” Score
5. “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” Performed by Jason Weaver with Rowan Atkinson and Laura Williams
6. “Elephant Graveyard” Score
7. “I Was Just Trying to Be Brave” Score
8. “Be Prepared” Performed by Jeremy Irons with Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings
9. “Simba, It’s to Die For” Score
10. “Stampede” Score
11. “Mufasa Dies” Score
12. “If You Ever Come Back We’ll Kill You” Score
13. “Bowling for Buzzards” Score
14. “Hakuna Matata” Performed by Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella with Jason Weaver and Joseph Williams
15. “We Gotta Bone to Pick With You” Score
16. “Kings of the Past” Score
17. “Nala, Is It Really You?” Score
18. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” Performed by Joseph Williams and Sally Dworsky with Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella and Kristle Edwards
19. “Remember Who You Are” Score
20. “This Is My Home” Score
21. “The Rightful King” Score

Disc Two
1. “The Morning Report” Performed by James Earl Jones, Jeff Bennett and Evan Saucedo
2. “Warthog Rhapsody” Performed by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella
3. “We Are All Connected” Score Demo
4. “I Was Just Trying to Be Brave” Score Demo
5. “Stampede” Score Demo
6. “Mufasa Dies” Score Demo
7. “This Is My Home” Score Demo
8. “The Rightful King” Score Demo
9. “Circle of Life” Instrumental Demo
10. “Circle of Life” Performed by Elton John
11. “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” Performed by Elton John
12. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (End Title) Performed by Elton John