African Cats

U.S. Release Date:

True Life Adventure
April 22, 2011
Samuel L. Jackson
Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill
Keith Scholey, Alix Tidmarsh

An epic true story set against the backdrop of one of the wildest places on Earth, “African Cats” captures the real-life love, humor and determination of the majestic kings of the savanna. Narrated by Oscar®-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, the story features Mara, an endearing lion cub who strives to grow up with her mother’s strength, spirit and wisdom; Sita, a fearless cheetah and single mother of five mischievous newborns; and Fang, a proud leader of the pride who must defend his family from a rival lion and his sons. Disneynature brings “The Lion King” to life on the big screen in this True Life Adventure directed by Keith Scholey and Alastair Fothergill (“Earth”). An awe-inspiring adventure blending family bonds with the power and cunning of the wild, “African Cats” leaps into theatres on Earth Day, April 22, 2011.


Related Media (and Links)

Official Trailer:

Quick Facts:

  • “African Cats” is the third release for Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from The Walt Disney Studios in more than 60 years. Launched in April 2008 to bring the world’s topnature filmmakers togetherto capture a variety ofwildlife subjects and stories, Disneynature was behind both “Earth” and “Oceans.”
  • “Earth,” the first film to premiere domestically under the new label on Earth Day 2009, garnered a record-breaking opening weekend for a nature documentary. On its opening day, the film also broke the single-day box-office record for a nature documentary.
  • Hitting theaters on April 22, 2010, “Oceans” was the #1 film that day and had the third highest opening weekend box-office gross of all time for a nature film. “Oceans” is the third highest grossing feature-length nature film in history.
  • Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13True-Life Adventure motion pictures between 1949 and 1960, including “Seal Island” (1949), “Beaver Valley” (1950), “The Living Desert” (1953) and “Jungle Cat” (1958). The films earned eight Academy Awards®.
  • Narrator Samuel L. Jackson was nominated for an Academy Award® for his performance in “Pulp Fiction.” His credits include big-screen hits like “Die Hard: With a Vengeance,” “A Time to Kill,” “Stars Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace,” “Shaft,” “Changing Lanes,” “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” “The Incredibles,” “Cleaner,” “Unthinkable” and “Iron Man 2.”


MARA is a curious, six-month-old lion cub who is devoted to her mom, Layla.  Mara prefers to spend her days snuggling and playing with her mother, aunts and cousins—a group of lions that make up the River Pride.  Layla is an experienced lioness and Mara hopes to follow in her footsteps.  But she must learn quickly for Layla is nursing an injury that is beginning to slow her down. Mara’s future is in question and her loyalty to Mom will be challenged. 

LAYLA used to be the most experienced hunter among the River Pride lionesses, but an injury has stolen her physical prowess.  She’s hurting and some days she lags behind the pride, but her feisty nature remains.  Layla concentrates on protecting her daughter, Mara, doing everything in her power to carve out a permanent niche in the pride for the young cub, and at the same time, save her from the threat of Kali and his sons.   

SITA is a tough, beautiful adult cheetah—a single mom who’s fiercely protective of her newborn cubs.  She faces quite a juggling act with the need to regularly leave her brood to hunt for food, while remaining vigilant against possible attacks on them from lions, hyenas and adult male cheetahs.  She treks for miles in search of her prey, returning at dusk to share her precious milk with the cubs. Sita will eventually lead them from the den on a perilous journey across Kali’s land in search of food.

SITA’S CUBS are sweet and playful little cats who are blissfully unaware of the danger that surrounds them.  As they grow and learn from their fearless mother, it is clear that they’ve inherited much of her spunk—though standing up to an adult cheetah isn’t necessarily a good idea.

FANG is the leader of the River Pride.  His broken tooth isn’t his only challenge:  Kali and his sons are waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal his throne.  Fang may be the lord of the River Pride, but it’s the lionesses who surround him that give the pride its real strength.  Embattled and bruised, Fang counts on his feisty team to take care of the hunting and often relies on them when the pride is threatened.  But despite the lionesses’ willingness to step up to the plate, Fang’s weakness puts the pride at risk. 

KALI is a powerful and combative lion who leads the group of lions north of the river. But Kali and his sons have grown tired of living in the margins of lion society; they call on the River Pride again and again to test Fang’s strength with hopes of one day gaining control of the pride.  Mara, Layla and Sita will all be tested by Kali and will need to stand up to him to protect their families. 


All images on this page are courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

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