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The Lion King 1 1/2
Directed by Larry Leichliter
Lindsey Pollard
Produced by Owen Laramore
Lori Forte
Written by Josh Klausner
Darren Lemke
Based on Disney's The Lion King
by Irene Mecchi
Jonathan Roberts
Linda Woolverton
and The Lion King 1 1/2
by Bradley Raymond
Tom Rogers
Starring Sean Astin
Judd Apatow
Emma Thompson
Robert De Niro
Matt Damon
Omar Sy
Tika Sumpter
Alan Tudyk
Eric Bauza
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Stephen Sandoval
Edited by Darren T. Holmes
David Ian Salter
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Olaramore04 Productions
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date May 8, 2026
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language Engiish
Budget $145 million
Box office $373 million


The Lion King 1 1/2 is a 2026 American computer-animated musical film produced by Olaramore04 Productions and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Larry Leichliter and Lindsey Pollard in their feature directorial debuts, the film serves an origin story for the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa while also set before, during, and after the events of 2024's The Lion King. A majority of the cast from the 2024 film reprised their roles, including Sean Astin and Judd Apatow as Timon and Pumbaa, with Emma Thompson and Robert De Niro voicing new characters. It is Olaramore04's twelfth film, the studio's first prequel, and the first one animated on a new proprietary animation system, named "Maestro".

The Lion King 1 1/2 was released in theaters on May 8, 2026. The film was a box office success, grossing $373 million against a $145 million budget, and received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised the music, animation, and voice acting (particularly Astin and Apatow's performances).

Plot

As Timon and Pumbaa watch the original film in a theater, Timon decides to fast-forward to their scenes. Pumbaa's protest over this eventually prompts Timon to share his backstory, going back to before the beginning of the movie.

Timon is a social outcast in his meerkat colony on the outskirts of the Pride Lands due to frequently messing things up by accident. Though he is unconditionally supported by his mother, Timon dreams of a better life than his colony's bleak existence continuously hiding from predators. One day, he is assigned as a sentry in an attempt by his mother to get him accepted, but his day dreaming leads to the near death of his Uncle Max by the hyenas Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed. After the meerkats exile him, Timon decides to leave and find a better life. He meets the mandrill Rafiki, who teaches him about "Hakuna Matata" and advises him to "look beyond what you see". Timon takes the advice and observes Pride Rock in the distance. Believing Pride Rock to be his dream home, Timon ventures and encounters Pumbaa on his way. The two quickly form a bond, and Pumbaa accompanies Timon.

The pair arrive at Pride Rock during the presentation of Simba to the Pride Lands' animals. As they make their way through the crowd of onlookers, Pumbaa explosively passes gas due to his fear of crowds, causing nearby animals to faint but prompting animals further away to bow to Simba. Following this, Timon and Pumbaa make multiple attempts to set up homes, but wind up being forced away after witnessing several events from the original film, such as Simba singing "I Just Can't Wait to be King", Mufasa's fight with the hyenas, and Scar's conspiring with the hyena. Eventually, the pair are caught in the wildebeest stampede that killed Mufasa, and are thrown off a waterfall in their attempt to escape. Exhausted, Timon decides to give up, until Pumbaa discovers a luxurious green jungle he tried to tell Timon about earlier. They finally settle there with the philosophy of Hakuna Matata.

Eventually, Timon and Pumbaa encounter Simba in a nearby desert, nearly dead. They rescue him and decide to raise him under their philosophy. Years later, Nala appears and reunites with Simba after chasing and mistaking Pumbaa for food. Believing Hakuna Matata to be in jeopardy, Timon and Pumbaa attempt to sabotage their dates, but fail every time. After they witness Simba and Nala's argument, Simba disappears. Nala explains that he had run off to challenge Scar and reclaim Pride Rock, so that they need their help. Upset since Simba left them, Timon refuses to give up his dream home, which leads to a falling-out between them. While Pumbaa follows Nala and Simba, Timon indulges in the jungle's luxuries by himself, but his loneliness starts to overwhelm him. Rafiki appears again and indirectly helps Timon realize that his true Hakuna Matata is with the ones he loves (not just the place he sought for), prompting him to take off after Pumbaa, Simba, and Nala.

Timon catches up and reconciles with Pumbaa, before they journey onward to Pride Rock. After helping Simba and Nala distract the hyenas, Timon and Pumbaa run into Man and Uncle Max, who came looking for Timon, who introduces Pumbaa to them. Timon proposes that they all help Simba by getting rid of Scar and the hyenas. While Simba battles Scar, Ma and Uncle Max are directed to construct a series of tunnels beneath the hyenas, as at the same time, Timon and Pumbaa use various tactics to distract them while the tunnel is being made. When the tunnels are finished, Uncle Max knocks down the support beams, breaking the ground under the hyenas. However, the last few get jammed, prompting Timon to dive underground and break them himself. The cave-in commences, and the hyenas are ejected through the tunnels in time to confront Scar and kill him. Simba accepts his place as the rightful king of the Pride Lands, thanking Timon and Pumbaa for their help. Timon takes Pumbaa, Ma, Uncle Max, and the meerkat colony to live in the predator-free jungle to complete his Hakuna Matata, and he is praised as their hero.

Once the story finishes, Ma, Uncle Max, Simba, Rafiki, and eventually many other Disney characters join Timon and Pumbaa to rewatch the film in the theater in which Pumbaa tells Timon that he 'still doesn't do so well in crowds'.

Cast

  • Sean Astin as Timon
  • Judd Apatow as Pumbaa
  • Emma Thompson as Ma
  • Robert De Niro as Uncle Max
  • Matt Damon as Simba
  • Omar Sy as Rafiki
  • Tika Sumpter as Shenzi
  • Alan Tudyk as Banzai
  • Eric Bauza as Ed
  • Gabrielle Union as Nala
  • Jim Hanks as Zazu
  • Christian Convery as Young Simba

Reception

Box office

The Lion King 1 1/2 was released on May 8, 2026, and was projected to gross $115--150 million in its opening weekend. The film earned $81 million its first day, including 2 million from Thursday night previews, and $115 million in the opening weekend. The budget was $145 million, likely due to the high cost of Astin and Apatow reprising their roles. The film has earned $175 million in North America and $198 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $373 million. It is the first Olaramore04 film to earn less than $400 million since 2023's The Jungle Book.

Critical response

The Lion King 1 1/2 received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 78% based on 167 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "Though not up to the standards set by Olaramore04, The Lion King 1 1/2 is cool to look at for a colorfully animated retelling of The Lion King from the point of view of its comic sidekicks and protagonists Timon and Pumbaa". On Metacritic, the film has a score of 70 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

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