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WIRE Buzz: The Lion King pounces on presale records; Disney+ recruits LaKeith Stanfield

By Josh Weiss
Scar The Lion King 2019

Talking lions, fairy-tale movies, and drama in the far-flung future. You know what that means ... another edition of WIRE Buzz, where the latest developments in the world of genre are collected for your reading pleasure.


We're a little less than a month from its theatrical release and director Jon Favreau's "live-action" remake of The Lion King at Disney has already devoured ticket presale records for Fandango and Atom.

At Fandango, the highly anticipated film has nabbed the second-best presale debut within a 24-hour period, after April's Avengers: Endgame. Over at Atom, the movie hakuna matata'd its way to the highest first-day sales of any family-friendly feature, beating out the likes of Toy Story 4, Aladdin, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, and Shazam!

"The Lion King is the summer’s most anticipated family film,” said Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis in a statement. “With a marvelous ensemble cast, groundbreaking effects, a host of songs we all know by heart, and a director who has emerged as a major visionary talent, the recipe is there for hearts to be warmed and records to be broken."

The Lion King

Aside from Star Wars and the MCU, The Lion King redo is now Disney's top-selling "traditional" project in terms of advance ticket sales, easily edging out 2017's Beauty and the Beast and 2019's Aladdin, which still hold two of the Top 3 spots.

Based on Fandango's own metrics, 97% of ticket buyers are fans of the animated original from 1994; 95% are looking forward to seeing how the classic songs by Tim Rice and Elton John are incorporated; 82% are fans of the voice cast; 73% are enjoying Disney's recent trend of remaking its iconic properties; and 41% have seen The Lion King stage production.

Favreau's reimagining roars into theaters everywhere on July 19, but a new trailer invites you to "look closer" today...

This photorealistic CGI version boasts an incredible cast of Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, John Kani, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Florence Kasumba, Seth Rogen, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Eric Andre, Billy Eichner, and Amy Sedaris.


Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) and Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) have been cast in a currently untitled fairy-tale-based movie for Disney+, Deadline has confirmed.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before's Susan Johnson is nearing a deal to direct the film, which will be based on a script by Cat Vasko. More details are forthcoming.

Lakeith Stanfield and Olivia Cooke

It's rumored that Stanfield will appear in the Jordan Peele-produced remake of Candyman opposite Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris. Cooke, on the other hand, has a starring role in Chad Hartigan's sci-fi drama/romance Little Fish.

Disney+ goes live Nov. 12.


The CW has dropped the first key art for Pandora, the network's upcoming original sci-fi series, which debuts next month.

Set in 2199, the show follows a young woman who, after losing everything in her life, seeks a fresh start at Earth’s Space Training Academy, where she learns to protect the planet from galactic threats, be they alien or human. As more secrets about her origins come to light, our main character must find out whether she is meant to save humanity or destroy it.

Pandora key art The CW

Pandora co-stars Priscilla Quintana (Polaroid), Oliver Dench (Technology), Raechelle Banno (Home and Away), John Harlan Kim (The Librarians), Ben Radcliffe (Random), Banita Sandhu (October), Martin Bobb-Semple (Free Rein), and Noah Huntley (Free Rein).

Season 1 premieres Tuesday, July 16, at 8 p.m. EST.