In an interview with British GQ, the music superstar, who co-wrote the original film’s songs with lyricist Tim Rice, conveyed his resounding disapproval with the soundtrack of Disney’s remake. “The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up,” he said. “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 in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year. The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success.”
John also expressed regret that he wasn’t more involved with the project: “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.”
As John noted, the new Lion King reigned supreme at the box office, taking in more than $1 billion worldwide. Audiences also roared their approval with an “A” CinemaScore, though the film’s ultra-photorealistic character designs and few changes from the original film were sticking points with many viewers and critics. The film was released on digital platforms on Friday and will arrive on Blu-ray on Oct. 22.
John has been having a banner year, between the release of the smash-hit biopic Rocketman in May and his new autobiography, Me, which hit shelves on Tuesday. The musician is currently traveling the globe on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.