June 24th 1994 - The Lion King Released
The Lion King was released on this day in 20 years ago with a star studded cast of with Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick playing Child and Adult Simba, James Earl Jones playing Mufasa (Simba’s dad) and Jeremy Irons as Scar the villain. Remember, this was peak Home Improvement for JTT (we called him JTT back then).
The film ran in many theaters until the end of September and was then re-released in November because it was so popular. That second run ran through the end of the year and until March of 1995. It closed out the year as the highest grossing film of 1994. After a 2011 3D re-release in theaters it closed with total earnings over US $987. That makes it the film is the highest-grossing hand-drawn film in history, and the 19th-highest-grossing feature film of all time.
The Lion King dominated the music category at the Oscars being nominated for 3 songs “Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and “Hakuna Matata.” “It won for Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and for Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score. Both won at the Golden Globes and Lion King also took Best Feature Film Comedy / Musical.
The Award for “Best Animated Feature” did not exist until 2002, which is unfortunate because it’s very clear that The Lion King would have won that award as well.
The film also lead to an adaptation on Broadway. The Lion King is currently Broadway’s fourth longest-running show in history and the highest grossing Broadway production of all time.
The soundtrack (released on June 30th) went Diamond on US charts selling nearly 8 million copies and reached number one on the billboard charts.