Mia and the White Lion

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Mia and the White Lion
Mia and the White Lion Official U.S. Poster.jpg
American release poster
Directed byGilles de Maistre
Written by
Produced by
  • Valentine Perrin
  • Jacques Perrin
  • Nicolas Elghozi
  • Gilles de Maistre
  • Stephane Simon
  • Catherine Caborde
CinematographyBrendan Barnes
Edited byJulien Rey
Music byArmand Amar
Distributed byStudioCanal (France)
Release dates
  • 26 December 2018 (2018-12-26) (France)
  • 1 February 2019 (2019-02-01) (Germany)
  • 12 April 2019 (2019-04-12) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
  • France
  • Germany
  • South Africa
  • English
  • French
Budget€8.7 million[1]
Box office$36.4 million[2][3]

Mia and the White Lion (French: Mia et le lion blanc)[4] is a 2018 family adventure film directed by Gilles de Maistre. The film stars Daniah de Villiers, Mélanie Laurent, and Langley Kirkwood. The film was released in France on December 26, 2018[5][6] and in the United States on April 12, 2019.[7]


Ten year old Mia Owen has her life turned upside down when her family decides to leave London to manage a lion farm in Africa. When a beautiful white lion, Charlie, is born, Mia finds happiness once again and develops a special bond with the growing cub.

When Charlie grows too old to be kept in the house, Mia's father, John, decides to place the growing lion into an enclosure away from all human contact. When Mia's brother, Mick, is injured by Charlie, Mia's parents forbid her from interacting with Charlie - if she does, they will sell him for money. However, Mia defies her father's instructions not to interact with Charlie. In retaliation, her father opts to sell Charlie - Mia is shocked to discover that the farm she lives on is selling lions to be shot by trophy hunters to make money. She becomes determined to save Charlie from this cruel practice so drives across South Africa with him intending to release him into the Timbavati Game Reserve - a refugee for the iconic white lions.

However, a trophy hunter named Dirk who does business with John has his heart set on making Charlie his next trophy and sets out across the country to get him. Mia's family also go after them with the intention of stopping the government from having Mia imprisoned for harboring a dangerous predator.

Mia and Charlie arrive at the Timbavati Game Reserve, where Dirk and his companion ambush them. Charlie manages to attack Dirk and escape with Mia. Mia's family and the police spot Charlie and Mia entering the Game Reserve - the police attempt to shoot Charlie but cannot do so once he is safely in the reserve. Sometime later, Mia and her family revisit the Timbavati Game Reserve and are delighted to see that Charlie has mated with a lioness and has a litter of cubs.



Directed by French director Gilles de Maistre, the expansive production was filmed over the course of three years so that the film's young stars Daniah De Villiers and Ryan Mac Lennon could bond and develop real relationships with the lions and other animals that appear in the film. The scenes between the actors and the animals in the film are real and not reliant on CGI.[8][9][10] Mélanie Laurent, Langley Kirkwood, Brandon Auret and Lillian Dube also star.

Kevin Richardson, a lion expert also known as the "Lion Whisperer", oversaw the entire production process and all interactions between the lions and the children ensuring the safety of the animals, cast and crew on set.[8]

The film is based on an original story written by de Maistre's wife, Prune de Maistre, after they visited lion-breeding farms in South Africa. The screenplay is written by Prune de Maistre and William Davies. The film is co-produced by Studiocanal, M6 Films, Film Afrika and Pandora film and created in collaboration with Canal+, Cine+, M6, W9 and Film-und Medienstiftung NRW in partnership with Kevin Richardson.[11][7]


Box office[edit]

Mia and the White Lion[8] is currently the highest-grossing French production outside France in 2019, accumulating a total of 2.43 million spectators (€13 million in box office revenues) in 25 markets around the world, including 900,000 admissions in Italy (€5.62 million) and 264,000 admissions in Colombia (€625,000).

Critical response[edit]

Reviews were broadly positive. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10.[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]


  1. ^ "Mia et le lion blanc (Mia and the White Lion) (2018) - JPBox-Office". JPBox-Office. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Mia and the White Lion (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Mia and the White Lion (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  4. ^ Mia and the White Lion | Movie Site & Trailer | April 12, 2019, retrieved 5 April 2019
  5. ^ "Anecdotes du film Mia et le Lion Blanc" (in French). AlloCiné. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Mia et le lion blanc: Les scènes où Mia joue avec le félin adulte sont à couper le souffle". Première (in French). 26 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b McNary, Dave (6 February 2019). "Film News Roundup: Family Adventure 'Mia and the White Lion' Set for U.S. Release". Variety. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Goodfellow, Melanie. "Buyers pounce on Studiocanal's hot EFM title 'Mia And The White Lion' (exclusive)". Screen. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Gilles de Maistre: 'Mia et le lion blanc a été acheté partout dans le monde… sauf en Afrique du Sud'". Première (in French). 27 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Mia et le lion blanc: 'Avoir un lion comme ami, c'est extraordinaire et c'est ce qu'a fait cette enfant'" (in French). AlloCiné. 26 December 2018.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (6 February 2019). "Film News Roundup: Family Adventure 'Mia and the White Lion' Set for U.S. Release". Variety. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Mia and the White Lion (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Mia and the White Lion reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 24 April 2019.

External links[edit]