And in an era of computer-animated films, it is doubtful Disney will return to creating such types of work any time soon.
I was fortunate enough to see the Broadway production back in 1999. Anyone who has seen it knows how during the opening number ("Circle of Life"), every square inch of the theater is used - every aisle, every balcony - thereby knocking down that "fourth wall," and intermingling audience with performers.
The result was a genuinely moving and transcendent moment I shall not soon forget. Obviously, the Broadway production was competing with and trying to accomplish what the animated film was able to achieve.
The "Circle of Life" segment, alone, qualifies The Lion King as a masterpiece. If you aren't moved by it, you may already be dead, so check your pulse: