Disney animators believed in this movie more than The Lion King

lion king It’s Disney aristocrats — pun intended. The animated film is one of the most popular, famous, and successful Disney films ever produced, becoming one of the highest-grossing animated films at the time of its release. It was as much critical acclaim as it was a commercial success, picking up two Oscars along the way. It has become a pop culture fixture, spawning cherished Broadway musicals, highly underrated sequels, and live-action remakes that even out-grossed the original.With such widespread love for the film, it’s hard to believe the Disney team actually had more faith in it other Movies in production at the time: Pocahontas.


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Pocahontas and lion king Produced around the same time, at this stage of production Disney believes the former will be more popular. lion king That’s the wild card — it was an experiment that took a lot more risk, but one that paid off in the end. Both classic Disney films are beloved stories in their own right, but the behind-the-scenes look at the friendly rivalry between the animation teams is also a fascinating look back at the history of both classics.

RELATED: Disney Wants to Expand ‘The Lion King’ into a Star Wars-Like Franchise


“The Lion King” and “Pocahontas” in simultaneous production

The wind blows across her face in Pocahontas.
Image via Walt Disney

lion king and Pocahontas went into production at the same time in the early 1990s, when Jeffrey KatzenbergThe goal set by Disney animation chiefs is to produce one animated feature film per year. In a 2015 interview with Refinery29, several members of the animation team spoke about their experiences working on the two films.In order to achieve the annual goals, the animation team must be divided into two groups: one group responsible for Pocahontasis being produced further, another lion kingit’s still in its early stages, and its title hasn’t even been finalized yet.

Due to the need to allocate animation teams, the artists split up to work on different projects. As Disney continues to be a competitive environment, animators with more experience and accolades tend to be preferred for their assignments.some artists, such as Bruce Johnson, are specifically asked to work on a project based on their past experience working with the rest of the team. Animators would still end up working on the two projects in separate capacities, so even if each artist primarily worked on one project and not the other, there wasn’t any hard division.

Who is on every animation team?

Pocahontas and John Smith look at each other
Image via Walt Disney

Ultimately, both animation teams are filled with incredible ideas and some of the most talented artists in the world.However, the depth of experience seems to be biased towards Pocahontas Exceed lion king. Pocahontas directed by Mike Gabrielwho previously directed australian rescuersand Eric Goldbergwho just animates the sprite aladdin.song for Pocahontas has also been taped and has been fairly well received, so the film seems ready and poised to succeed.

One of the major contributors to the prestige and excitement surrounding Pocahontas is involved glen keanehe was widely regarded as the best animator in the world at the time. aaron bryce He talked about this further in an interview with Refinery29.bryce is an animator Pocahontas He also supervised the animation of young Nora lion kingand spoke of the significant aura of Keane’s involvement Pocahontas.

“The best animator in the studio at the time was Glenn Keane. He was world famous and everyone wanted to work with (him). At the time, Keane was assigned Pocahontas. So everyone immediately thought, Well if Keane plays Pocahontaswhich must mean that’s the more important movie, because they’re really doing it with their top dogs“.

signs of some inclination Pocahontas Exceed lion kingespecially stemming from Katzenberg’s imprudent belief: Pocahontas sure to be a hit, and lion king It’s a riskier endeavor.

lion king However, the team has only further motivation to prove themselves.The director of the film is Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers, who are making their directorial debuts. While this is their first time as directors, the pair have previously worked as animators and storyboard artists on films like The Movie. little mermaid, Australian rescuersand aladdin.Although the team has less experience on paper compared to other teams Pocahontas, it’s undeniable that their talent and audacity have made their films such incredible successes.At the time, animated animals were considered less prestigious, but lion king will play an important role in changing this narrative. The team is made up of Disney’s inexperienced animators, but that just means they’re eager to showcase their talents and skills.but lion king Not without some well-known animators themselves, Andreas Deja and ruben aquino, who are considered top animators, are also working on the project. The drive and hunger for success of this team has certainly led to wonderful and memorable results for their work.

‘The Lion King’ experiment a huge success

Rafiki lifting Simba at Pride Rock in The Lion King.
Image via Walt Disney

Nonetheless, both films were commercially successful.However, its enormous size and impact lion king Unprecedented and utterly amazed by a project made by the underdog animation team. lion king Unlike other major Disney films of the time, it focused on animals and had a mostly original story.Movie Breaking precedent for the first Disney-produced animated film to be independently created without direct source material.despite the connection with shakespeare village As pervasive and noteworthy as they are, they weren’t part of the original idea behind the movie. Connections are expanded once similarities are noted, but ultimately the team wants to keep the story as original, unique, and fresh as possible.

Collider team interviewed the lion king In 2017, co-director Rob Minkoff spoke about creative freedom TLK’s The team conducted experiments and made unprecedented choices.

“In fact, Jeffrey Katzenberg famously talked about Pocahontas and The Lion King being in the works at the same time. He said, ‘Pocahontas is West Side Story and ‘West Side Story. Dances With Wolves.’ He said, “The Lion King, on the other hand, was an experiment. So we really don’t know. ’ But the fact that he allowed us to make a movie with no real precedent, no real formula … because especially in Hollywood, people like formulas, right? It’s a signpost. If you know the rules, that’s, that’s “You should. All of a sudden, if you don’t have a formula — everybody wants a formula, but if you don’t have it, you’re really forced to do something different. “

s story lion king has some resemblance to the story behind The same goes for this movie. It’s a coming-of-age story of young players making brave choices that lead to great success.legacy lion king Go ahead, the prequel film is titled Mufasa: The Lion King It is in production and is expected to be released next year.

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