Odds and Ends
The Circle of Beer
26 8, 9:41am
No, it's not based on Hamlet; that's part of the misinformation Disney spread to mask how they straight-out stole one of their highest-grossing films ever from another studio.
The Lion King movie borrows VERY heavily from a Japanese comic and animated series, "King of the Jungle" a.k.a. "Kimba, the White Lion". The visuals, the characters, the storyline... nearly every aspect of it aside from the fur colour of the protagonist, copied from one of the most popular masterpieces of Asamu Tezuka, (sometimes called "the Japanese Walt Disney").
Disney started production of "The Lion King" almost immediately after Tezuka died.
It would almost be forgivable if Disney hadn't refused to give Tezuka any credit and heavily marketed TLK as "Disney's first ORIGINAL story!" No, it's just another rebranded classic story, same as they've always made... except this time they hardly needed to do rewrite a thing, because the work had been done for them.
Even more messed up? After the beloved Tezuka died, a Japanese film studio started work on a film adaptation of the later chapters of his comic, titled "Jungle Emperor Leo", right about the same time production started on TLK on the other side of the world. They were a smaller studio with vastly less money and fewer lawyers than the giant, Disney. Their production had some challenges and their film didn't release until a few years after Disney's TLK. When they aired it at a Toronto film festival, Disney sent them a Cease & Desist order claiming it was a copyright infringement of THEIR version of The Lion King. The might of Disney's Lawyers prevailed, and no public screenings of either Kimba the White Lion, or Jungle Emperor Leo have ever been permitted in North America since.
It was the 1990s, and the Internet was still warming up to become the border-ignoring mass of easily accessible information it is today, so Disney got away with it all, and made millions.
Watch this video. The side-by-side comparisons show just how blatantly Disney copied the older work.