Elton John says Disney's 'Lion King' remake was 'a huge disappointment'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Elton John attends "The Lion King" European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

If anyone knows about the Circle of Life, it's Elton John.

And the singer hasn't held back about his feelings for Disney's CGI remake of its classic The Lion King, for which he provided the original soundtrack back in 1994.

Despite getting involved in remixing iconic songs like Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata for the billion-dollar grossing reboot, he's said that the studio 'messed the music up', and that the finished product was 'a huge disappointment'.

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He told GQ: “Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost.”

“The soundtrack hasn’t had nearly the same impact on the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the best-selling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success.

The Lion King (Credit: Disney)

“I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect.

“That makes me extremely sad. I’m so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the Lion King stage musical.”

John and lyricist Tim Rice wrote five original songs for the original movie; Circle of Life, I Just Can't Wait to Be King, Be Prepared, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight, while Hans Zimmer composed the score.

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It became highest selling soundtrack of the year, and the fourth best-selling album.

British singer and songwriter Elton John (L) poses with partner Tim Rice 27 March at the 67th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. John and Rice won Oscars for their original song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from the film "The Lion King." (DAN GROSHONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel The Love Tonight were all nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song, with Can You Feel The Love Tonight scooping the Oscar, and also a Grammy for John's version of the song, which plays over the film's closing credits.

Despite middling reviews, the remake, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Donald Glover and Beyonce Knowles-Carter among the voice cast, was a huge financial hit for Disney, making $1.6 billion worldwide.