Disney apologizes to school charged for showing ‘Lion King’

Entertainment
Sean Bailey

FILE – In this April 3, 2019, file photo, Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, discusses the upcoming live-action film “The Lion King” during the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2019 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The Walt Disney Co. has apologized to a California school that was charged a $250 licensing fee after showing the company’s film “The Lion King” during a fundraiser. Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley was billed by Movie Licensing USA on behalf of Disney for “illegally screening” the film at a “parent’s night out” event that raised $800 last year, KPIX-TV reported Thursday, Feb. 5. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. has apologized to a California school that was charged a $250 licensing fee after showing the company’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King” during a fundraiser.

Emerson Elementary School in Berkeley was billed by Movie Licensing USA on behalf of Disney for “illegally screening” the film at a “parent’s night out” event that raised $800 last year, KPIX-TV reported Thursday.

Since the school did not have a license with Disney, it was asked to pay $250.

PTA President David Rose said a parent bought the movie at Best Buy. School officials were shocked when they got the bill and didn’t know they were breaking any rules, he said.

“The event made $800, so if we have to fork over a third of it to Disney, so be it. You know, lesson learned,” Rose told the news station.

But on Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted an apology to the school on behalf of the company.

“I will personally donate to their fundraising initiative,” Iger said.

Movie Licensing USA, which manages licensing for Disney and other major studios, didn’t respond to KPIX’s request for comment.

Disney’s remake of its 1994 animated classic made more than $1.6 billion at the global box office.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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