Elton John Reportedly Reworking ‘Lion King’ Songs for Remake
Disney is prepping a live-action version of its classic animated hit The Lion King for a new generation — but it will reportedly boast a familiar soundtrack, with Elton John offering newly reworked versions of his musical contributions to the original.
According to sources who spoke with the New York Daily News, although it hasn't been officially announced yet, Disney's cut a deal with John to record "reworked versions" of his Lion King soundtrack songs, which include the Oscar-winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" as well as "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata," both of which were nominated for Academy Awards. New songs are said to be potentially part of the project as well.
As noted by the News, John's involvement means he'll be working alongside multi-platinum pop star Beyoncé, who's part of the new Lion King voice cast as Nala, the story's chief female protagonist and eventual mate to main character Simba (voiced by Atlanta's Donald Glover). It's an undeniably attractive pairing for the studio, as it stands to produce one of the more highly anticipated soundtracks of 2019.
"The songs will be threaded into the storyline," said the source. "It is unthinkable when you have Beyoncé involved not to have her sing some of those iconic hits — and that means huge sales to a new generation. The deal is a huge one and will earn him millions at many stages. Obviously he will get a one-off licensing deal followed by a cut in royalties from all aspects of the work."
"Huge" isn't an understatement here. Said to be worth "at least $4 million" up front, the deal is rumored to be worth in the neighborhood of $13 million for John after sales and airplay are factored in. Were John to score a hit single from the Lion King remake, it would mark the second time he turned to his back pages for Top 40 success: In 1997, his re-recording of "Candle in the Wind," inspired by the death of Princess Diana, stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard chart for 14 weeks.