Writers of Original ‘Lion King’ Lose Out on Credit for 2019 Remake

Courtesy of Photofest; Courtesy of Disney. Source: Hollywood Reporter

Before the release of the ‘live-action’ Lion King remake, concerns arose about how credit would be distributed to individuals who worked on the original Lion King. According to an article from Hollywood Reporter, storyboard artist, Jorgen Klubien, who worked on the original animated film, “learned that his credit may not appear on this summer’s CGI-enhanced remake” (Handel, 2019).

For the original film, Klubien was awarded credit for working on the story because he was a storyboard artist. However, his name was not included in the credits for the remake. The reason for this is that the original animated film was not created under the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), the writers worked under The Animation Guild (TAG). Unfortunately for Klubien and other writers in his situation, TAG “offers few credit protections and no residuals, as are routine under the WGA rules” (Handel, 2019).

Klubien did not have residuals on the content that was used to create the remake. Cynthia Littleton defines residuals, in TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet, as “a small percentage of the minimum initial compensation fee for a given job category, or as a small percentage of the revenue generated by the reuse of the production” (Littleton, 5). If the remake is made under WGA terms and Klubien was also working on the original under the WGA, the guild would have been able to guarantee him credit and provide him residuals on the film.

The WGA contains a complex contract known as the Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), which ensures the “rights and payments due them as creators of intellectual properties” (Littleton, 6). TAG would do well to adopt a similar contract to ensure proper rights and residuals on content created by their members, regardless of if it is created under the WGA or TAG.

Sources

Handel, Jonathan. “Why Original ‘Lion King’ Writers Are Losing Out With This Year’s Remake.” The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Jan. 2019, www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-original-lion-king-writers-are-losing-years-remake-1174451.

Littleton, Cynthia. TV on Strike: Why Hollywood Went to War over the Internet. Syracuse University Press, 2013.

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