WONKA – one of the most anticipated 2023 movies, is scheduled for release in cinemas on 14 December 2023
Roald Dahl’s timeless classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, has left an indelible mark on literature and cinema alike. This beloved tale has graced the silver screen twice before: first in 1971, when it was adapted into a film – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – that introduced the whimsical chocolatier, Willy Wonka, portrayed by Gene Wilder. Then, in 2005, under the direction of Tim Burton and featuring Johnny Depp in the leading role, the original title was retained for a captivating reimagining.
As the world eagerly anticipates a third cinematic adventure within the ‘Wonkaverse,’ here’s everything you need to know before diving into the ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’ prequel:
Wonka is a prequel to the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and will follow a young Willy Wonka in his early adventures, including how he met the Oompa-Loompas. The film traces his transformation from a young man of modest origins with ambitious dreams in the candy industry to becoming an iconic source of inspiration for sweet tooths worldwide.
The titular character, Willy Wonka, will be portrayed by Timothée Chalamet. Other cast members include Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, and Jim Carter.
Directed by Paul King, who is already well-versed in adapting classic children’s literature to film. His previous works include the 2014 live-action Paddington and his 2009 feature film debut, Bunny And The Bull.
Watch The Trailer
It’s been said that Disney films have a ‘circle of life’. After years of being heralded as a classic, they get transformed into a live-action remake, and now it’s time for The Lion King to ROAR!
Releasing in cinemas across the Middle East on 18th July 2019, this summer blockbuster will not only revive a classic hit with pioneering photo-real animation technology – delivering a film experience that will be undoubtedly WILD, but is predicted to outshine the success of The Jungle Book (2016).
Watch the trailer of The Lion King 2019:
Here’s what we know about the movie so far:
Based on Disney’s other live-action remakes and its target audience, it can be presumed that the movie’s rating in the Middle East will end up being a PG feature. Disney would want this movie to be accessible to almost everyone. Therefore, while the remake may take some creative liberties – being a tad darker than its predecessor, the studio wouldn’t risk making it PG-13.
Is the Live-action Remake a Musical too?
Disney’s live action remakes have varied in terms of how closely they match the animated movies they’re based off of. Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast were straightforward adaptations that took a few creative liberties, while Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland saw significant differences.
Our guess is that we’ll have to wait and see as to how much of the live-action Lion King’s plot will deviate from the original movie. It has been confirmed that the July 2019 release will remain a musical, featuring songs that Simba and the gang made melody back in 19994 – which of course we all remember the lyrics to. However, don’t be surprised if, like in Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King remake includes a few original tunes to give it a different feel.
*Did you know – Hans Zimmer – the music supervisor/original score arranger from the 19994 classic, has been brought back to score the remake.
Jon Favreau kicked off his directing career with Made (2001), and followed with Elf (2003) and Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005). Iron Man (2008) marked his biggest blockbuster venture yet, and, along with Iron Man 2 (2010), he helped lay the groundwork for what the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would become in later years. After scaling back his MCU duties, Favreau kept the blockbuster train in motion with Cowboys and Aliens (2011), and the acclaimed comedy-drama Chef (2014), which he also wrote and starred in. His successful adaptation of The Jungle Book (2016) – Disney’s biggest hits of that year, wowed audiences, and no doubt is one of the reasons why he was tasked with executing the remake of the 1994 classic.
Favreau has proven his skills in delivering a compelling story revolved around realistic-looking, talking animals. Therefore, giving audiences a good remake of The Lion King should not be too hard a task for him, or is it? One thing to remember is that the disparity between the Indian jungle and African savannah is vast, and of course, no beast ROARS louder than lion!
*Did you know – Jon Favreau has also been tasked with Jungle Book 2, for which the release year is still to be confirmed.
Who are voicing the main characters?
Simba – After J.D. McCrary is done voicing young Simba in The Lion King remake, Donald Glover (Magic Mike, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Solo: A Star Wars Story) will take over as the adult prince.
Mufasa – The Lion King remake has only brought back one actor from the original movie, but of all the original performers who could have returned, this would be the person most of us would have wanted back for a reprisal. James Earl Jones will voice Mufasa again, as his voice is unique and one of the best in Hollywood.
*Did you know – This is the second character that Jones has recently revisited, as he reprised Darth Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Nala – Beyonće has snagged the role of Nala, and will take over once Shahadi Wright Joseph is through voicing the lioness. It was reported at the end of March 2017 that Beyonće was Favreau’s top choice to voice Nala, but at the time, she hadn’t made a decision about accepting the role because of her pregnancy. With Beyonće on board, it’s quite likely that she might go on to produce the movie’s soundtrack. Finger’s crossed!
Scar – Chiwetel Ejiofor will succeed Jeremy Irons as the voice of Scar in The Lion King remake. Ejiofor has only voiced one character (Dr. Watson) in 2018’s Sherlock Gnomes, but his face has become all too familiar on the Hollywood circuit (Triple 9, Doctor Strange and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind).
Timon – In this remake, the famous meerkat Timon – originally voiced by Nathan Lane, will be voiced by Billy Eichner, whose voice is just as memorable as Lane’s.
Pumbaa – There’s no Timon without Pumbaa… is there? Nah, we didn’t think so either! Seth Rogen voice the remake, and while Rogen is a one of Hollywood’s top comedy actors, most of his movies definitely aren’t family friendly. Just saying!
Rafiki – Now who can forget Rafiki: the ape who serves as the shaman of Pride Rock, best remembered for holding up aby Simba for all the animals to see. The late Robert Guillame voiced Rafiki in the 1994 classic and will be succeeded by John Kani (Captain America: Civil War).
Sarabi – Alfre Woodard will voice Sarabi – Mufasa’s wife/Simba’s mother, in The Lions King 2019. Her recent credits include State of Affairs, Luke Cage, Burning Sands and A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Zazu – Rowan Atkinson voiced the uptight majordomo in the original Lion King, and for the remake of 2019, John Oliver will take over as Mufasa’s bird-brained confidant. Oliver is primarily known for his work on The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight.
The Hyenas – The final characters on the list of main characters are Scar’s goons the hyenas – Azizi, Shenzi and Kamari, voiced by Eric André, Florence Kasumba and Keegan-Michael Key, respectively.
Watch the star cast of The Lion King 2019:
Here are some admissions for previous Disney releases in the UAE:
Ranks 5th in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2013
Screened in cinema for 20 weeks
Approximately 284K admissions
Ranks 10th in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2015
Screened in cinema for 12 weeks
Approximately 303K admissions
The Jungle Book (2016)
Ranks 1st in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2016
Screened in cinema for 20 weeks
Approximately 747K admissions
Finding Dory (2016)
Ranks 4th in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2016
Screened in cinema for 21 weeks
Approximately 384K admissions
Ranks 8th in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2016
Screened in cinema for 21 weeks
Approximately 314K admissions
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Ranks 3rd in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2017
Screened in cinema for 14 weeks
Approximately 498K admissions
Incredibles 2 (2018)
Ranks 9th in UAE’s Top 10 Movies of 2018
Screened in cinema for 17 weeks
Approximately 378K admissions
Motivate Val Morgan forecasts over 750K UAE admissions for The Lions King 2019.
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Sources: Entertainment Weekly, The Edge, CinemaBlend