Hakuna Matata was the wonderful phrase parents got to share with their children as they watched the remake of the 1994 animated classic, The Lion King, for the first time.

Cinemas have been filling up fast with the new release of The Lion King, which is screening for the first time in cinemas across the country today.

YMCA Out of School Care and Recreation (Oscar) manager Natasha Leong said the organisation took 25 children to see the new film at Event Cinemas in Tauranga for the first time.

"All of the kids were super excited to see the remake," she said. "It is awesome to be able to be the first ones to see it."

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Leong said most of the children had not seen the original film.

"It was great to be able to share with them something that I watched as a child," she said.

Reuben Bopf, 10, said he enjoyed watching the movie for the first time.

"It was good, but sometimes sad, especially when Mufasa died," he said.

Erena Tamihana took her children, Emerald Tamihana 10, Cyprus Tamihana, 8, and Naia Te Haara, 10.

"It was good," she said. "It was better than Aladdin."

Erena Tamihana, Emerald Tamihana, 10, Cyprus Tamihana, 8, and Naia Te Haara, 10 watched The Lion King remake for the first time. Photo / George Novak
Erena Tamihana, Emerald Tamihana, 10, Cyprus Tamihana, 8, and Naia Te Haara, 10 watched The Lion King remake for the first time. Photo / George Novak

Event Cinemas Mount Maunganui duty manager Sam Larsen said the theatre had been busy all day with people coming in to see The Lion King.

"Usually with an opening movie we are about a quarter full, but we nearly sold out our first two screenings," she said.

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Tauranga Crossing centre manager Andrew Wadsworth said foot traffic in the city's newest mega-mall had increased 40 per cent compared to last Wednesday by the first screening at 9.20am.

Event Cinemas Tauranga Crossing manager Justin Chaney said presales had been huge.

"People know they need to see The Lion King on the biggest screen possible," he said.

"Our massive VMax screen with Dolby Atmos surround sound literally transports you into the movie."

Chaney said the film was set to break box office records.

"We are opening extra sessions to keep up with demand, but it's a film that you should book early to secure your seats in advance."