Jason Weaver, voice of Lion King’s Simba shares story of how he declined $2m for eternal royalties

Michael Eli Dokosi October 09, 2019
Jason Weaver attends 2019 Wanderluxxe Pre-Emmy Diversity Luncheon at Craig's Restaurant on September 21, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

It pays to have good counsel and even better to heed them. For American actor and singer Jason Weaver, he has his mum to thank for the steady cheque he receives since featuring in Walt Disney’s 1994 feature animation film ‘The Lion King.’ He was just a teen then.

Weaver, was the singing voice of the young Simba in the film and for his work was offered a $2 million flat rate from Disney with no royalties, however, it was his clever mother who countered, probing if a system could be engineered for him to receive a sum and then enjoy royalties for life.

In a Vlad TV interview, he stated “I remember it was like $2 million. You gotta remember, they’re coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They’re coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread.”

Jason Weaver, voice of Lion King’s Simba shares story of how he declined $2m for eternal royalties
A young Jason Weaver via lipstickalley.com

“Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff,” he continued. “I think at that time they had put out Sleeping Beauty and some of their old catalog from when Walt Disney was alive. They were releasing that stuff when they were releasing the new Disney stuff, so she [Weaver’s mother] 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.”

Weaver eventually had $100,000 upfront and a share of royalties. The gamble to decline $1.9 million has paid off as he says royalties he has received in 25 years has scaled the one-off sum.

Jason Weaver, voice of Lion King’s Simba shares story of how he declined $2m for eternal royalties
Photo: The Walt Disney Company

Weaver had earned $80,000 from his prior role as Michael Jackson in the TV mini-series The Jacksons: An American Dream.

The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994, to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music, story, and animation. It grossed $968.5 million in the box office.

Ever grateful to his mother who has ensured that even when he dies, his estate will pass royalty to his son, he stated: “Shout out to my mother…She was absolutely right. That residual income that I generate, that is so helpful,” adding, “if my mother hadn’t done that; that would have been one of the biggest mistakes of my career business-wise.”

Disney’s CGI remake of its 1994 film The Lion King has crossed $1.3 billion at the international box office, officially beating out Frozen’s $1.27 billion to become the top-grossing animated film of all time, per CinemaBlend.

Weaver’s other acting credits include ‘The Lebrons’ TV series, ‘ATL’ and ‘The Ladykillers.’

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: October 9, 2019


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