Pocahontas Puts The Lion King Production At A Major Disadvantage

In a 2017 interview with Collider, “The Lion King” co-director Rob Minkoff said Jeffrey Katzenberg had very high hopes for “Pocahontas” at the time of its development, believing it could be a contender. seriously at the Oscars. “The Lion King”, on the other hand, was described by Katzenberg as an early “experiment”, which in its own way was liberating because, as Minoff reasoned, it liberated him and his production team. , to try to do something really revolutionary:

“Actually, Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke very well about Pocahontas and The Lion King. [while they] were in production at the same time. He said, “Pocahontas is West Side Story meets Dances With Wolves.” He said: “The Lion King, on the other hand, is an experience. So we don’t really know. But the fact that he allowed us to make a film without any real precedent, without any real formula… Because in Hollywood in particular, people love a formula, don’t they? It’s a landmark. If you understand the rules, it’s like that’s what you’re supposed to do. Suddenly, if you don’t have a formula, everyone wants a formula, but if you don’t have it, you really have to do something different.”

While it would end up bearing a disconcerting resemblance to older animated projects (not to mention a certain medieval Scandinavian myth and William Shakespeare’s play), “The Lion King” was otherwise something of a swerve. compared to Disney’s formula at the time, as Minkoff pointed out. . In another major departure from lore, the movie was still in the middle of production when Disney debuted “Pocahontas.” This was all an offer from Katzenberg for the studio to release a new animated film every year, something it had never done on a consistent basis until then.