Trying out a trailer that’s not quite a trailer, Disney is already pitching its animated feature for next summer, The Lion King. Instead of the usual eye- catching montage, the studio is showing a four minute-plus sequence, just as it will appear in the finished film. Set to one of several songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, the clip represents the movie’s opening moments, in which the animals of the veldt make a panoramic pilgrimage to greet the newborn cub who will someday be King of the Beasts. Any Bambiesque echoes are probably intentional: Disney’s Jeffrey Katzenberg has already referred to the film as ”Bambi in Africa.” But whether or not it becomes another classic, it already seems destined to become a hit. Now playing in theaters with Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, the trailer is making converts of the feature’s audience. A-

The Lion King
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