The Lion King
One of the most high profile adaptations of Shakespeare in the modern age, The Lion King is a Disney retelling of Hamlet set among lions in Africa. Critically and commercially successful, the film on release became the highest-grossing release of 1994, the highest-grossing animated film and the second-highest-grossing film of all time. It has since been surpassed as the highest-grossing animated film by its photorealistic remake in 2019.
Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons, the film follows a young lion, Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), as he abruptly confronts his destiny as king of the Pride Lands - but not before the throne is usurped by his uncle, Scar (Irons). Simba (later voiced by Broderick) grows up as an outcast before ultimately retaking the Pride Lands in a fiery finale.
Created on a budget of $45 million, The Lion King grossed an astounding $968.5 million at the box office, and won two Academy Awards for its music, composed by Elton John.
The Lion King is the subject of a long-standing rumour that the word 'SEX' appears in a night sky scene. However, an animator on the film has definitively refuted this, stating instead that the intended Easter egg was to spell SFX in a nod to the film's technical achievements.
The 2019 remake, which prioritised black voices among its main cast and included Beyoncé as the voice of Nala, was produced on a budget of $250-260 million but made $1.657 billion at the box office. However, it was criticised for its muddy relationship with the songs of the original and its photorealism, which some thought left the lions expressionless.