Long awaited live action film ‘Lion King’ releasing to theaters this weekend

Walt Disney Pictures

John Oliver and Donald Glover in “The Lion King.”

Whether it’s entertainment news, daily talk shows or even prime time news, you can’t tune in to any of these without seeing interviews with the stars of the long-awaited live-action film “The Lion King” that released today.

Donald Glover (“Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Atlanta”) will take the helm as lead character Simba, but it was the casting of singer Beyoncé Knowles as Nala that has seemingly drawn the most attention.

In an interview on Oprah’s OWN network, Knowles said, “I’m so excited for my kids to see it, but it means even more to share this experience and this culture of The Lion King with my mother and my family,” she said.

Twenty-five years after the original animated film was released, James Earl Jones (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Coming to America”) will reprise his role as Simba’s father, Mufasa.

The rest of the cast includes: John Oliver (“The Smurfs” and “The Love Guru”) as Zazu, John Kami (”Black Panther” and “Ghost in the Darkness”) as Rafiki and Seth Rogan (“Superbad” and “Knocked Up”) and Billy Eichner (“Angry Bird Movie” and “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) as the lovable duo of Pumbaa and Timon.

But despite all of the hype for the film, the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes shows a surprising poor response from critics with just a 59 percent rating on the Tomatometer.

“It hangs together better than the horrid, live-action Aladdin remake that came out in May, but that’s not saying much,” said Top Critic John Wendell with the Denver Post. “Most viewers will find this Lion King to be either eye-candy or uncanny valley. There’s so little in between.”

Top Critic Michael O’Sullivan with the “Washington Post” said, “Yes, this movie is a safari to the shadowland, and it’s just deep enough to give a cat who’s come of age something to sink his teeth into.”

Regardless of the poor critic ratings, it will more than likely come out on top at the box office this weekend.

Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is rated PG for sequences of violence and peril, and some thematic elements.

Other films releasing to the box office this weekend include:

n “The Art of Self Defense,” directed by Riley Stearns and staring Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots and David Zellner. After he’s attacked on the street at night by a roving motorcycle gang, timid bookkeeper Casey (Eisenberg) joins a neighborhood karate studio to learn how to protect himself. Under the watchful eye of a charismatic instructor, Sensei (Nivola), and hardcore brown belt Anna (Poots), Casey gains a newfound sense of confidence for the first time in his life.

The film is rated R for violence, sexual content, graphic nudity and violence.

n “Rosie,” directed by Paddy Breathnach and staring Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford. The film tells the story of a mother trying to protect her family after their landlord sells their rented home and they become homeless. Over 36 hours, Rosie and her partner John Paul strive to find somewhere to stay while shielding their young family from the reality of the situation around them.

The film is rated PG-13 for thematic material.

The synopsis for each of these films is taken from rottentomatoes.com.

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