Original The Lion King Singer Turned Down $2 Million for $100K and Royalties

Most people wouldn't turn down a $2 million paycheck for their work on just about anything. Well, actor/singer Jason Weaver is not just anybody, as evidenced by him passing on that staggering pile of cash from Disney. He told VladTV that way back in 1994, the company offered the actor and the family all that dough for his part in The Lion King. But, as with most things in business, there was a major decision at play with that sort of money on the table.

Basically, Disney had these terms for the agreement: choose the two million and that's it, no more money, or, take about $100,000 up-front and wait to see if the royalties will make up for missing out on that tremendous pile of cash. The Young Simba actor and his mother weighed it for a while before taking the second option and got to negotiating that royalty deal. Some people probably couldn't pass up that wild lump sum.

“I remember it was like $2 million,” Weaver explained. “You gotta remember, they’re coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They’re coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread.”

He continued, "Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff. I think at that time they had put out Sleeping Beauty and some of their old catalog from when Walt Disney was alive. They were releasing that stuff when they were releasing the new Disney stuff, so she was able to see the playing field and go, ‘Wait a minute, this is going to make a lot of money over time, so what happens when my son turns 40? Is he going to be able to get a check for this when they eventually re-release this?"

It looks like the decision paid off, as he told the website in that interview, he's made up that $2 million. Now, one might wonder if he's going to see any of the money from the remake. The answer would be yes surprisingly, any time those songs appear in a later entry he will see his cut. Also, with his estate lined up, his kids will be able to reap the benefits as well.

The forecast is looking good as Disney continues to build on its best year ever at the box office. The company has grossed more than $7.67b through the end of the peak summer months. That total is still waiting on additions from Frozen 2 or Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That pair of enormous franchises should carry Disney over the $10b mark this year. That version of the The Lion King was nothing short of a smash. The company managed to top it with Avengers: Endgame, which went down as the highest-grossing film to ever hit theaters.


The Lion King is directed by Jon Favreau and stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones.

The Lion King will reportedly get a home media release date in late October while Avengers: Endgame is now available wherever movies are sold.