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Man who voiced Simba turned down $2 million dollar payday and went for royalties instead

Jake Massey

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Man who voiced Simba turned down $2 million dollar payday and went for royalties instead

The singer who performed as young Simba in The Lion King showed the courage of a lion to turn down an offer of $2 million in favour of picking up royalties.

Jason Weaver sang Disney bangers such as 'Hakuna Matata' and 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' and was offered a flat rate of $2 million (£1.63 million) - which is a lot now, but was much more back in 1994.

However, he trusted the sage advice of his mother and decided to turn it down and negotiate a royalties deal.

He turned down a lot of cash upfront. Credit: AJ Pics / Alamy Stock Photo
He turned down a lot of cash upfront. Credit: AJ Pics / Alamy Stock Photo

"I remember it was like $2 million," he told Vlad TV in 2019.

"You gotta remember, they're coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They're coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread."

He added: "That amount of money to an average middle class family in Chicago in the early nineties, that's something.

"But 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?'

"They were like, 'That's it, he takes the money, that's it,' she was like, 'No, let's negotiate royalties.'"

Weaver, now 42, said they knew Disney had forecasted they'd make a 's**t tonne' of money from the movie franchise, and that the two mil offered was a drop in the ocean.

But it was a big gamble to turn down the offer, as he said he ended up being paid just $100,000 (£81,460) upfront.

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.'"

The gamble proved to be a smart move for Weaver, who revealed that the royalties have more than made up for turning down the initial offer - although he didn't say exactly how much he'd earned from the songs.

Just goes to show, you can always rely on your mum to work out what's best for you, eh?

Featured Image Credit: Vlad TV

Topics: TV and Film, Disney

Jake Massey
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