10 Million Viewers in South Korea! the Reason, Why [Aladdin] Is Possible While [The Lion King] Is Impossible

- The three success factors in [Aladdin], but not in [The Lion King] at South Korea
Published : Friday, August 2, 2019, 10:01 am
ACROFAN=Sophia Seo | | SNS
Can the movie [The Lion King] surpass the record of [Aladdin]? This year, Disney revealed two live-action remake movies. One is the movie [Aladdin], which has been a concern since the release of the cast, and the other is the [The Lion King], which is considered to be one of the best productions of the year for the best production cost of Disney's history.

Source: The Walt Disney Company Korea Official Poster

First of all, [Aladdin], released in May, surpassed 10 million viewers in Korea in just 53 days with 1400 screens without screen monopoly, and it has exceeded 11 million viewers for the 4th time in foreign films. Even the opening score was so low that it couldn’t exceed 100,000, which is the lowest movie among the foreign films with 10 million viewers of all time. As a result, it succeeded in reaching the box office of approximately $ 1 billion globally.

Meanwhile, [The Lion King], released last week (July 17, 2019), has surpassed [Aladdin]’s record from the beginning of the opening. In ten days after its release, it recorded a tie record with [Frozen]. That is, it has surpassed 3 million viewers in the shortest time in history of Disney movies. And the earnings have already reached $ 600 million globally.

As it has been rushing like nobody’s business, whether [The Lion King] will be able to set a record that surpasses [Aladdin] is attracting attention all over the world. Actually, as mentioned before, [Aladdin] was one of the controversial works before the release. There were a number of criticisms including boring casting controversy (although the casting controversy is a problem every time a live-action movie is released), as well as the shocking appearance of actor Will Smith, who transformed into a blue Genie. Disney has already seen the bitter taste of the box office failure with [Beauty and the Beast], so it did not expect much on [Aladdin]. Rather, it was concentrating on [The Lion King] from CG to music and even dubbing.

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However, [Aladdin], which was at the center of the controversy, resulted in a long-remembered myth in movie history, and the whole world was enthusiastic about Aladdin. Thus, [The Lion King] soon began to attract attention. This is because Disney had been working on it for a long time.

If I guess [The Lion King] can make as much success as [Aladdin], the answer is 'NO'. [The Lion King] does not have the secret to attract the audience like [Aladdin].

[Aladdin] and [The Lion King] have a fatal weakness in the box office. That is, the audience already knows the story. On the other hand, it can also be strength in that it has many fans waiting for this work. Nevertheless, the reason why the weakness is bigger is that there must be something that surpasses the previous animation for captivating audiences who constantly compare with previous animations. In this respect, [Aladdin] has succeeded, but [The Lion King] has failed.

Source: The Walt Disney Company Official Poster

[Aladdin] searched for something that differentiated from animation in 'camera control', ‘presentism', and 'impact'. First of all, as you can guess from the title, [Aladdin] is a fantasy adventure story that a sneak thief Aladdin experiences while encountering the lamp fairy Genie. That is, it is all about the story of Aladdin. But in this live-action movie, even though the title is [Aladdin], it does not seem to be Aladdin's story. The film moved audience’s eyes to the minor characters, the lamp fairy Genie and Princess Jasmine. To be specific, it focused on Genie’s desire to be a normal human being, the sadness of Jasmine deprived of her father’s kingdom by the Wizard Jafar, and the strength to regain it. As a result, it was possible for the audience to feel fresh and emotional as they experience a whole new story.

Source: “Speechless” Music Video Screenshot

However, in [The Lion King], it was difficult to find differentiated points like [Aladdin]. Story is still focused only on the main character Simba. The story of Timon, Pumbaa, and Nala was similar to that of animation, and the ambition of Uncle Scar, which was existed in the original animation, and the stories of the three hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, Ed) disappeared.

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Next, it is about 'presentism'. One of the reasons why [Aladdin] is favorably received by audiences is that it has perfectly done presentism of the characters. Everyone knew that Genie was cheerful, but no one could imagine the funky atmosphere of hip-hop. In [Aladdin], on top of Genie's original unique sense of humor in the animation, modern comedy, funkiness, and hip-hop style were added to present new fun and pleasure. Consequentially, a lot of laughing points that audience can enjoy were in the film. Furthermore, OST has strengthened modern grandiosity and musical elements as well as reinforced the reinterpretation of modern story by inserting a new song, Speechless, which was not in animation.

Source: [Aladdin] Teaser Trailer Screenshot

On the other hand, there was very little modern interpretation in [The Lion King]. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the original animation of 1994 was transferred as it was. No new interpretation was found compared to the original animation [The Lion King].

Finally, it is 'impact'. One of [Aladdin]'s viewing points is the fun of watching. How to express the magic elements of Genie was an important factor. With advanced computer graphics (CG) technique, it successfully presented more colorful visual beauty and impact than animation. CG, as well as dazzling group and solo dance, provided the audience much fun to move their shoulders throughout the movie.

Source: [Aladdin] Preview Teaser Trailer Screenshot

The visual of [The Lion King] is second to none. The most focusing part in [The Lion King] is the reality that filmed the actual animals and nature as they are. So when the trailer was first released, it became a big topic for the factual description. However, the visual novelty was only up to five minutes before the movie started. Realistic descriptions have soon been adapted to the eyes of the audience, and other than that, there were few visual elements that could catch the eye of the audience. After all, the story had to lead the movie, but the story was not so different from the animation, which eventually became a flat and boring movie. Even the part of Simba and Nala falling in love with the background OST ‘Can you feel the love’ was finished by mixing with the reunion scene without any romantic atmosphere.

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Despite this criticism, of course, [The Lion King] can record astonishing performances like [Aladdin]. This is due to the combination of various factors, including simultaneous releases and seasons. But there is one thing we should not forget in [Aladdin]. The crucial reason why [Aladdin] could succeed in the box office was that it was the repeated viewings. The repeated viewing rate of [Aladdin] is 8.7% on July 14, which is about three times the average of the top 10 movies (3.1%). Also, for repeated viewings, there must be something that fans want to watch again.


Ph.D Sophia Seo

She had been a member of the research committee of EBS Tomorrow’s Education Plan Institute. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Sookmyung Women's University and an education director of Data Marketing Korea. She is an expert in new media content trend and creator market analysis.

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