German-born composer Hans Zimmer called in the services of his South African friend, Lebo M., to help provide some authenticity to The Lion King’s musical soundtrack. It is Lebo M.’s call that you hear on the opening bars of “Circle of Life”. He also wrote the African chant that underpins this stirring version of the song.
Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba) and Nathan Lane (Timon) only saw each other once during production and that was in a hall. They both did their voice work separately. Broderick and Lane would later appear together in The Producers (2005). Coincidentally, both films now exist as Broadway musicals.
This is the first Disney animated feature to be dubbed into Zulu for its African release. Several Disney animators went to Africa to study animal behavior and interaction in the wild. A grown lion and a cub were also brought into the animation studio as models for anatomy and musculature.
Frank Welker (the voice of Scooby Doo) provided all the lion roars. Not a single recording of an actual lion roaring was used because the producers wanted specific sounding roars for each lion.
Adult Simba’s mane was supposedly inspired by Jon Bon Jovi’s hair.
Originally the Hula dance with Timon was going to be a Saturday Night Fever-like disco dance.
The movie is the best selling home video of all time, with more than 55 million copies sold to date. Until 2013 this movie held the record for being the highest grossing animated film in history, until it was surpassed by Disney’s Frozen (2013). – IMDB