The Lion King Already Passed A Box Office Milestone

The Lion King on cliff Disney

That was fast. The Lion King just opened yesterday in the U.S. but it's already out there roaring up coins around the world. In the past week, The Lion King easily entered the nine-figure race with $130.5 million worldwide -- by Thursday. That's not even counting what The Lion King will make this weekend overseas, or here at the domestic market.

But let's mention that now.

The Lion King is expected to make $300 million overseas from its first 10 days, per Deadline.

The Lion King is also looking at a domestic opening weekend from $180 to $200 million, from a massive 4,700 theaters.

Theoretically, The Lion King could hit $500 million worldwide by the end of the weekend. We are definitely looking at a 10-figure movie by the end of its box office run.

These numbers are incredibly impressive, but because The Lion King opened in the same year as Avengers: Endgame, it will have to settle for a silver medal no matter what. Avengers: Endgame had a record domestic opening weekend of $357.1 million, which is just ludicrous. A more realistic domestic benchmark for the 2019 Lion King might be the 2017 Beauty and the Beast, which opened to $174,750,616.

The Lion King is already tracking to top the Beauty and the Beast remake, which made $1,263,521,126 worldwide. There were some concerns that The Lion King's disappointing reviews from critics might hurt the film, but not so far.

The Lion King currently has a 55% rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics, but an 89% audience score from RT users, and an A CinemaScore from moviegoers polled on opening night. That's pretty similar to the live-action Aladdin, which initially looked like it might struggle at the box office, but is now at $965,990,139 worldwide. It just keeps going. Will The Lion King keep going strong week after week like that too?

The Lion King is set for the best July opening ever, passing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2's $169.1 million. The Lion King will also be director Jon Favreau's best opening, topping Iron Man 2's $128.1 million. His 2016 remake of The Jungle Book opened to $103.2 million.

So how high will The Lion King soar? CinemaBlend's Sunday box office roundup will give the domestic weekend figures, and we'll keep a close eye on the movie's progress from here. It certainly has enough room to spread its paws, since no one dared take it on this weekend. The Lion King is expected to win the weekend so easily it's scary.

Box Office Mojo projects The Lion King to open to $190 million domestic, followed by Spider-Man: Far From Home with around $22 million, then Toy Story 4 with $12.6 million. Yes, Disney owns everything. After that, though, they see Crawl, Yesterday, and Stuber on the charts, followed by more Disney with Aladdin.

Disney is going to keep popping out remakes until they stop making money, and it's clear The Lion King is going to make all the money. Based on the success of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, it looks like one of the lessons of these remakes is that audiences are perfectly happy to go see stories that stick close to the animated classics. New technology and new voice actors are different enough -- they don't want it to be so different that it's like Dumbo.

Are you planning to see The Lion King this weekend, or have you already seen it? If you saw it, how would you grade it? Please vote in our poll.

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Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.