In 1994 Jason Weaver provided the singing voice for Young Simba in Disney’s original The Lion King, and thanks to his mother’s shrewd negotiations, he’s been collecting checks from that gig ever since.
According to VLADTV, during a recent interview with the site, the actor shared how he was initially offered a $2 million flat rate from Disney with no royalties, to be part of the production but was advised by his mother to turn it down.
“I remember it was like $2 million,” said Weaver. “You gotta remember, they’re coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They’re coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread.”
Because he was only a child at the time, his mother was legally in charge of handling his affairs. And she surmised that that it would be a bigger benefit for her son to get royalties instead of being bought out by the powerful studio. Ultimately, his contract stipulated that he would get paid $100,000 upfront and an ongoing share of royalties moving forward.
“Disney had a reputation for re-releasing stuff,” he explained. “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 check for this when they eventually re-release this.”
Now that he actually is 40, Weaver is grateful for his mother’s wisdom because he’s been able to make-up well over the $2 million he initially turned down thanks to royalties and renewed interest in the Lion King franchise.