Actor who voiced Simba in The Lion King risked it all by turning down $2 million pay day for his role

A bold move, but one that ultimately paid off.

Published on Oct 9, 2023 at 2:04PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Oct 10, 2023 at 2:06PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Kate Bain
The Lion King Jason Weaver hero image

You may have never heard of Jason Weaver but you’ve almost certainly heard his voice.

The 44-year-old actor starred in one of Disney’s most successful movies and he made a fortune.

He took a huge risk to get there too.

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Jason Weaver was young Simba’s singing voice in 1994 movie The Lion King, so even though you (probably) haven’t seen his face, you’ve heard him singing.

Speaking to Vlad Lyubovny of the Vlad TV YouTube channel, Weaver said he turned down a massive seven-figure salary, opting to receive royalties instead.

“I remember [the offer I got] was like $2 million,” he told Vlad.

“You have to remember, they’re coming off of Beauty and the Beast [and] Aladdin, so Disney had [money to burn].”

Even though $2 million was a huge amount of cash 19 years ago, and still is today, Weaver wasn’t blinded by the figure.

The fact that Disney was ready to fork out $2 million made Weaver realize the studio was fairly certain of the movie’s future box office success.

Right then and there, Weaver decided to ask for a much lower salary upfront, ‘just’ $100,000, and negotiate royalties instead.

The gamble paid off big time.

The Lion King grossed $968 million against a budget of $45 million.

Not only that, the soundtrack won an Oscar and sold 18 million copies.

“Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff. I think at that time they had put out Sleeping Beauty and some of their old catalogue from when Walt Disney was alive,” Weaver said.

The actor said his mother helped him make the risky decision too.

“My mum was able to see the playing field and go, ‘Wait a minute, this is going to make a lot of money over time, so are you going to be able to get a cheque when they eventually re-release this?'” he said.

Weaver didn’t reveal how much he had made from the movie so far, but we’re going to go ahead and assume it was a lot more than $2 million.

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