His mother negotiated a deal that he's still eating off of today.
Before he made it to his teenage years, Jason Weaver's acting career was off to a promising start. He portrayed a young Michael Jackson in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream and later would go on to land roles in Thea, Smart Guy, Drumline, Lottery Ticket, Love for Sale, and ATL. Yet, a role that is a highlight in Jason's career was that of The Lion King in 1994 where he sang all of the songs for young Simba.
In a recent interview with VladTV, Jason revealed that while Disney made him a generous offer for his vocals when he was just a young teen, he didn't take the money. "It was like, two million dollars," he said. "Just [to] sing. Yeah, 'cause they were on it like...you have to think. They're coming off of Beauty and the Beast. They're coming off of Aladdin. Disney had bread!" He added that the company's willingness to sign such a hefty check so quickly caught his mother's attention.
"That was the thing that struck my mom. Our agent called and was like, 'Kitty, they offered Jason this.' And we were all like, holy sh*t. Are you serious? I mean, that amount of money to an average, middle-class family in Chicago in the early nineties, that's something." However, after the excitement of the offer died down, Jason's mother put things into perspective. She learned that the $2 million is all her son would ever earn from The Lion King.
At the time, Jason says Disney wasn't negotiating royalty deals with unknown, or lesser-known, talent. The company wanted to just pay him a hunk of cash because they knew that the film would be a money-making machine. Instead, Kitty negotiated a deal where Jason received a $100K check but was offered royalties for the remainder of his life. The actor shared that he's received well over his original $2 million offer over the years and, of course, saw an increase in 2019 because of the recent, star-studded live-action remake which grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Check out his interview clip below.