Disney’s live-action rendering of its 1994 classic TheLionKing is out next weekend and it’s expected to make a killing at the box office. The computer generated saga from director Jon Favreau is among a quartet of Mouse Factory updates of their animated filmography out in 2019.
Reviews are out today and it’s a mixed bag. Even the majority of positive reviews essentially say it’s a carbon copy of the original. Even the majority of negative reviews seem impressed with its state of the art visuals.
The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 59% and that’s right in range with the 57% that Aladdin received two months ago. That certainly puts this out of Best Picture range. However, I look for this to be a serious player in Visual Effects. If so, it would follow Favreau’s 2016 smash TheJungleBook and it won the award. This has a shot at following suit. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Disney’s live action reimagining of TheLionKing roars into theaters next weekend a quarter century after the classic animated tale. Jon Favreau, who has some experience in the genre with 2016’s $364 million grosser TheJungleBook, directs. The computer animated animal epic features the voices of many recognizable faces. They include Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa.
Expectations are sky high and it’s easy to see why. The Mouse Factory has achieved massive successes in this unique sub genre and have done so very recently. This May’s Aladdin now stands at over $321 million in domestic earnings. The high water mark is from 2017 with BeautyandtheBeast. It opened to $174 million and topped out at $504 million total.
The 1994 original was a phenomenon, taking in $422 million. And that was 25 years ago and would be over $800 million when adjusted for inflation. It still stands as the fourth highest grossing animated feature of all time.
Considering those gaudy numbers, TheLionKing is likely to make a killing and set a new record for the studio’s remakes. $200 million is reachable in my view, but I’ll put it a bit under that.
TheLionKing opening weekend prediction: $192.7 million
Like the whodunnit paperbacks that Jennifer Aniston’s character reads to distract herself, MurderMystery is a flimsy experience that you’ll quickly forget. It’s not bad while it lasts, but I wouldn’t count on retaining it. Adam Sandler and Aniston team up again after 2011’s middling JustGowithIt and that title aptly describes this. Don’t expect much other than a few amusing moments from the cast and it’s probably best viewed in transit somewhere as a minor distraction.
Sandler is New York cop Nick, who yearns to be a detective but can’t pass the exam. Aniston is his hairdresser wife Audrey. They’ve been married 15 years and she’s bitter that Nick hasn’t made good on his long standing promise of a European vacation (Amazon gift card is more his speed). He finally acquiesces and on the ride over, Audrey befriends the dashing Charles (Luke Evans) who invite the couple to join his family on their luxury yacht.
Charles is nephew to Malcolm Quince (Terence Stamp), a mega billionaire who owns the vessel. He stole Charles’s young fiancée and their nuptials are imminent. Others on the boat are financially dependent on Malcolm, including his son (David Walliams), a Hollywood actress (Gemma Arterton), a Formula One driver (Luis Gerardo Mendez), and a hip hop influenced maharajah (Adeel Akhtar). When Malcolm is killed, Nick and Audrey find themselves aboard a plot akin to her throwaway books.
The body count rises as the head couple become the lead suspects. Nick must utilize his detective skills, which are most certainly not considerable. MurderMystery is often as generic as its name. Sandler is in goofy nice guy mode while Aniston plays exasperated for an hour and a half. They do share a comfortable chemistry that helps as this moves along. Some of the supporting players momentarily rise above the material, including Arterton (her reaction to accusations of being the culprit is genuinely funny).
It’s not exactly high praise to say that this isn’t bad like some of Sandler’s other Netflix excursions. Mildly diverting is more apt. For a watch involving a flight or long train ride somewhere, MurderMystery could fit the bill for Sandler and Aniston admirers if you decide to just go with it.