Man who voiced Simba in Lion King turned down huge payday and accepted royalties instead
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Despite starring in one of the highest-grossing Disney films of all time, a singer who performed in The Lion King missed out on a very lucrative payday.
Jason Weaver, who was the singing voice of young Simba, initially turned down $2 million (£1.6m) and opted for royalties instead.
Weaver soon reaped his reward though, as songs like 'Hakuna Matata' and 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' made millions topping the charts.
The Oscar-winning soundtrack would go on to sell 18 million copies in the US alone, with The Lion King becoming the best-selling soundtrack for an animated film.
However, Weaver had initially agreed to the Disney deal after speaking to his mother, who said he should ask for a share of the royalties.
"I remember it was like $2 million," he told Vlad TV back in 2019, adding: "You gotta remember, they're coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They're coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread."
Having come from a middle-class family in Chicago, the sum was life-changing and the singer was eager to sign the contract.
However, his mum ultimately intervened.
“Immediately my mom goes, 'Wait a minute, OK, if they're willing to do that... that's it, that's all he'll ever get, for the remainder of his life?” Weaver explained.
"They were like, 'That's it, he takes the money, that's it,' she was like, 'No, let's negotiate royalties.'"
The now-43-year-old even revealed that Disney knew the film would do well at the box office and had predicted they make a ‘s**t tonne' of money from it.
Despite this, Weaver was paid just $100,000 (£80,400) upfront for his part in the 1994 film.
He added: "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.
"They were releasing that stuff when they were releasing the new Disney stuff, so she [his 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 what happens when my son turns 40? Is he going to be able to get a cheque for this when they eventually re-release this.'"
However, Weaver would eventually be relieved he made the decision as the royalties more than made up for turning down the initial offer.
While he wouldn't reveal what he’d earned from the movie, its seems Weaver can always count on his mum.
Featured Image Credit: YouTube / djvlad / Disney
Topics: Disney, TV and Film, Money, US News