The animated original was hardly the anticipated film the remake is now. But that release 25 years ago changed so much for Disney — and Hollywood.

Few animated films have charged onto the screen with the confidence of Disney's 1994 smash The Lion King. Eschewing opening titles, a giant red sun rising over the Serengeti filled the screen, as the soundtrack blasted the majestic opening song, The Circle of Life. The anthem of birth and death gathered intensity as giraffes, elephants and zebras assembled to witness the presentation of the newborn lion, who was held aloft as the music swelled;

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