The Walt Disney Company has confirmed that actor-turned-filmmaker Jon Favreau is set to direct an upcoming reimagining of The Lion King. The news became widely-known when the 49-year-old teasingly wrote on Twitter: "Excited for my next project," followed by a lion and a crown emoji.
The studio also released a statement on their website at the same time: "The Lion King builds on Disney's success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast."
The Lion King joins a long list of live-action adaptations that Disney currently have in the pipeline. Beauty And The Beast, starring Dan Stevens and Emma Watson as the leads, will be the next outing of the sort seen on the silver screen.
The studio also has a follow-up to Sleeping Beauty spin-off Maleficent reportedly in the works, with star Angelina Jolie set to reprise her role as the titular sorceress.
We can also look forward to a live action 101 Dalmatians movie, focusing solely on villain Cruella de Vil, with Emma Stone signed on to play the lead.
On top of that there are rumours of both Mulan and The Little Mermaid reboots doing the rounds as well as the idea that Tim Burton has agreed to direct a live-action Dumbo flick. Disney have also confirmed that a long-awaited sequel to Mary Poppins is currently in development too, with Ben Whishaw, Lin Manuel Miranda and Emily Blunt set to star.
The news that Favreau is stepping up to direct another reboot is hardly surprising given that his most recent outing was a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, based on the 1967 film of the same name, and the collection of stories before that by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1894. The film was a critical success and accumulated a whopping $965.8 million (£741.5m) in box-office sales.
In addition to The Lion King, Favreau is also working on a sequel to The Jungle Book. While no cast has been confirmed yet, it is believed that screenwriter Justin Marks is returning to work on the follow-up.
Originally released in 1994, The Lion King is one of the biggest animated films of all time, having grossed $968.8 million and scooping up two Oscars for best original score and best original song. In 1997, it was turned into a musical stage production on Broadway, opening on London's West End two years later.
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