The Lion King Turns 25: Everything You Need to Know About Disney’s Original Trip to Pride Rock
21. While you may have heard through the grapevine as a child that, in a scene where Simba falls to the ground and the dust kicking up around him forms the letters “SEX” in the clouds, it’s just not true. Producers would later admit that there were letters in the dust cloud, but they spelled out “SFX,” a small tribute to the special effects team that worked on the film.
22. The infamous wildebeest stampede scene required the painstaking use of a 3D computer program to create several distinct characters, later multiplied into hundreds, cel shaded to look like drawn animation, and given randomized paths down a mountainside to simulate the real, unpredictable movement of a herd. It took five specially trained animators and technicians more than two years to create the two-and-a-half minute sequence.
23. When The Lion King was released, it faced some controversy over the uncanny similarities to a 1906s Japanese animated series Kimba the White Lion. Disney, naturally, denied any funny business, stating all similarities were purely coincidental, however director Roger Allers had lived in Tokyo and worked in animation during the ’80s, when a remake of Kimba was airing on primetime television. Not helping matters? Star Matthew Broderick‘s early admission that he believed the film to be an adaptation of Kimba when he first read the script.
24. Despite the controversy—and Disney’s initial internal belief that this was the “B movie” compared to Pocahontas—The Lion King went on the become the highest-grossing film of 1994 worldwide and the second-highest-grossing of all-time at the time. 25 years later, it still manages to rank as the 42nd highest-grossing of all-time.
25. The Lion King was the second Disney animated feature to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy, following Beauty and the Beast. Toy Story 2 would become the third and final, as a rule change in 2006 would relegate animated films to the Best Motion Picture—Animated category.