The Lion King Box Office: Holy Crap, These Numbers Are Ridiculous

Nala and Simba in The Lion King

There was never any doubt that Jon Favreau's The Lion King was going to be a massive hit. The original from 1994 is one of the most beloved animated movies of all time, and fans have been drooling in anticipation for the new release ever since the impressive first trailer was launched late last year. That all on the table, however, what it managed to do during it's opening weekend is still absolutely stunning. Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

Weekend Box Office July 19-21, 2019 The Lion King

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Movie TitleWeekend AmountTotal AmountChart Position Last WeekNumber of Screens
The Lion King*18500000018500000004725
Spider-Man: Far From Home2100000031965941214415
Toy Story 41460000037553334923750
Annabelle Comes Home26600006658220171981
The Secret Life Of Pets 2153000015155116591380

With a stunning haul of $185 million domestically in the last three days, The Lion King has shattered the record for biggest opening weekend in the month of July. The previous number one was David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which made $169.2 million when it came out this month in 2011, but now the boy wizard has to settle for second place. It's also worth mentioning that these numbers make the release the second biggest of 2019, behind only the stunning $357 million that was made by Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame back in April.

As you probably could have guessed, this thing's performance at the box office is only more impressive when you factor in all of the money that is pouring in from foreign markets. The reality is that what The Lion King has made in North America thus far only accounts for less than 35 percent of the total gross. The rest of the world has already purchased $346 million worth of tickets, which brings the blockbuster's release up to $531 million in just a few days. That already makes it the seventh biggest movie that has come out this year, and it likely won't take long for it to take down both Frant Gwo's The Wandering Earth and Pixar's Toy Story 4.

It's worth mentioning at this point that this year has been stock full of big releases that have dropped precipitously in their second weekends, but people definitely shouldn't expect The Lion King to be included among those titles. While professional critics wound up being very mixed on the movie, leaving it with a 'Rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences are loving it. Just like Guy Ritchie's Aladdin (which you'll notice is still holding on to seventh place), the film has been given an "A" rating on CinemaScore, and that sentiment alone should result in a solid buzz that leaves the release with strong legs. It certainly helps that we're coming up on what is generally one of the worst months of the year for Hollywood - though David Leitch's Hobbs and Shaw will be a bit of a distraction when it comes out early next month.

Basically, you can fully expect that The Lion King is going to become a member of the Billion Dollar Box Office Club along with 2019 releases Avengers: Endgame and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel.

Speaking of that exclusive group, it's worth noting that this week we actually have three other releases creeping towards that milestone as well. Having been released back in late May, Aladdin is nnow the closest, having grossed $988.8 million worldwide to date - which means that it should make its billionth dollar by the end of next weekend. The same will also likely wind up being true for Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Far From Home, which only came out a few weeks ago but has already made $970 .8 million globally. That's pretty crazy all by itself, but it's even more nuts that it will be the third Marvel Cinematic Universe release to enter the three comma club this year.

Meanwhile, Toy Story 4 isn't quite as close as those other two releases, but it's definitely expected that it will eventually make over a billion dollars. The $14.6 million it earned this weekend in America now brings its total to $859.4 million internationally, and folks are definitely still buying tickets. In fact, the animated hit experienced a shockingly small drop from its fourth week into its fifth, with its numbers only changing about 30 percent. This is definitely one of the biggest hits of the year, and people are going to keep hitting the movie up for heavy emotions throughout the rest of the summer.

It's fully illustrative of the dominating year that Disney is currently having, and we are still waiting on both Walt Disney Animation's Frozen 2 and J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Right now the studio has released six of the seven biggest movies of 2019 so far, and by the end of the year it's entirely possible that the ratio could rise to nine of the top 10.

Of course, as has been widely reported this was also a massively important weekend for Avengers: Endgame - and not because it has now dropped out of the domestic Top 10. The last three days didn't see a huge flood of money pour in for the release, but it did make just enough all around the world for it to now be called the biggest international release of all time. It has now made $2,790,216,193, which is enough to top the $2,789,700,000 that James Cameron's Avatar made across multiple releases in 2009 and 2010. How long will the record stand? The aforementioned Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker may potentially be a threat, but if not that it's very possible that this is a record that could stand for at least a decade.

Given that it stands to make over $100 million again, The Lion King will likely wind up being the number one movie in the country again next week - but there is one new release coming that could help shake things up in the rankings: Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The writer/director certainly has a history of making hits, with both Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds both doing exceptionally well in the last decade, and this one starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio could be one of the filmmaker's biggest. We just have to wait one full week before we know, so be sure to come back next Sunday for our full breakdown of the new Top 10.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.