Big fan of the Lion King? Course you are! And you’ll be a Lion King expert too once you’ve gone through this mega list of movie facts! So let’s get going!
In at number 1…
1. The remake was very successful
The 2019 CGI version of the Lion King was the highest grossing animated film of all time – bringing in $1.6 BILLION dollars. You could buy 6.4 billion Freddo bars with that much money. That’s LoOoOoOoDs!
2. The Lion King was a Disney first…
…The first film to have an original storyline! All Disney films before this were based on fairy tales or books, so the writers had to work extra hard on the project and build the whole thing from scratch. Thankfully their hard work paid off, though!
3. The writers used to call the film “Bamblet”
The reason was because they thought of the film as a cross between William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Bambi. But with lions and baboons and stuff. You know.
4. Mickey Mouse is hidden in the Lion King!
If you look very carefully, one of the bugs that Timon and Pumba eat has a pair of tiny Mickey Mouse ears! There are actually lots of hidden Mickeys in Disney films, you just need to know where to look for them!
5. Hyenas aren’t evil in real life
The Lion King makes out that hyenas are sneaky creatures who are up to no good. But actually, they’re an important part of food webs. In fact, a lion is more likely to steal a hyena’s dinner than the other way round!
6. A hyena expert even sued Disney!
One hyena expert was so annoyed at how The Lion King had depicted hyenas, that he sued Disney for making them look bad. He even pushed for a boycott of the film – but didn’t have much success. On the plus side, the Lion King claimed the movie helped get more kids interested in wildlife – so, swings and roundabouts, maybe? By the way, the hyena expert lost his case.
7. What does the Circle of Life mean?
In the film’s opening scene, the song goes: “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama!”
In Zulu, this translates to: “Here comes a lion, father, Oh yes it’s a lion.” So not the most inspiring lyrics, but never mind.
8. There are loads of translations in the Lion King!
It’s not just the Circle of Life with a hidden meaning. The character names are based on words from Swahili – a different African language. Simba is a word for lion, and Pumbaa means “fool”! Makes perfect sense!
9. Hakuna Matata is a real Swahili phrase
It means “no worries” (but you already knew that, right?) – and it was picked up by the researchers when they made a visit to Kenya.
10. Pumbaa is the first Disney character to fart!
That’s it. That’s the fact. Heh.
11. The stampede scene took 2 YEARS to animate!
Well, it was a lot of Wildebeest!
12. Disney thought Pocahontas was going to be a better film
In fact, they put all the best animators on to Pocahontas, and thought of the Lion King as a kind of second project. How wrong they were! The Lion King went on to become one of the most famous Disney films ever, and one of the most profitable too! Sorry Pocahontas!
13. Scar and Mufasa aren’t blood brothers!
They call each other brothers, but teh producers of the film said in an interview that they don’t really have the same parents. So like adoptive brothers, then? Whatever their relation – it was still harsh for Scar to kill Mufasa!
14. Scar is in Hercules!
Scar makes a very quick surprise appearance in the Disney movie Hercules, but as a stuffed lion skin rug! Gross!
Is the only character to speak Swahili in the film, and the only one who doesn’t have an American or English accent. Whch is a bit weird really, seeing as it’s set in Africa…
16. Pat yourself on the back
You know the scene where Nala jumps on Simba and pins him to the ground? The production team actually hit the voice actor who played Simba in the back for that, so he would make that perfect winded OOOF sound. Such dedication!
17. Someone worked out where Pride Rock must be
There are lots of animals in the Lion King, and they live all over Africa – an absolutely gigantic continent. But some clever person made maps showing where each of the characters live – and there’s only one place in the whole of Africa where lions, warthogs, meerkats, hyenas, baboons and hornbills all live together. And that’s in a National Park in Namibia – so that must be where Pride Rock is, right? Science!
18. Scar always has his claws out
This is to show he’s an evil character, unlike the other lions who only get their claws out when they fight. Or when they scratch the sofa up. Probably.
19. King of the Jungle?
The Lion King was orginally going to be called King of The Jungle – until the producers realised that lions don’t live in the jungle.
20. Warthogs are more impressive than you think
Pumbaa might look lazy, but real life warthogs can run REALLY fast! In the wild, warthogs can run 30 miles an hour, and often outrun their predators! They’re great at digging tunnels and are very hardy creatures that can survive for months without water. Which you’d never guess from the film!