Nothing quite says ‘no worries, for the rest of your days’ like an absurd amount of money. After getting off to a roaring start in its opening weekend with $191.7 million, Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King has moved with cheetah-like speed at the box office and has already passed the $1 billion mark worldwide. Hakuna Matata indeed.
Jon Favreau’s photo-realistic CGI remake of the 1994 animated classic ended Monday just under the mark with $999.4 million at the worldwide box office. That broke down to roughly $360.9 million domestic and $638 million overseas for the visual spectacle. The Lion King crossed the $1 billion threshold on Tuesday according to THR, achieving a feat that seemed all but guaranteed as soon as we knew this movie was coming.
If The Lion King hitting $1 billion already seems fast that's because it is. For comparison, Disney’s other big live-action remake this year Aladdin, recently hit $1 billion and it came out over two months ago on May 24. Although The Lion King came out domestically on July 19, and just won its second weekend, it actually premiered in other markets, like China, a bit earlier. All told it took The Lion King 19 days in release to achieve the $1 billion milestone.
That puts the Disney film in the upper echelon of films that had speedy entries to the three-comma club. Other films that took 19 days to reach $1 billion include The Avengers, Avatar and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. It’s a hugely impressive, if expected, performance for The Lion King and one that is indicative of Disney’s complete and total dominance over the box office.
In addition to surpassing the $968.4 million the original Lion King made, including re-releases, Jon Favreau’s film now joins other Disney titles, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and the aforementioned Aladdin in the $1 billion club. That makes four $1 billion films on the year, tying Disney’s own record from 2016. That record will certainly be broken though with Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on the way and Toy Story 4 still plugging along.
Disney has made over $7 billion from live-action remakes in the last 9 years and this becomes the sixth film from Disney’s live-action arm (not just the remakes) to hit that mark. As CinemaBlend’s Mick Joest said, Disney won’t stop making these remakes until they stop making money and if The Lion King’s performance is any indication, that won’t happen anytime soon. Although I wonder what happens when Disney has tapped its well of true beloved classics dry.
With $1 billion in 19 days, it will be interesting to see just how high The Lion King can go. The film dropped a predictable 60% domestically in its second weekend, with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood performing admirably, but August doesn’t have a ton for it competition-wise. Hobbs & Shaw will likely unseat it from the top spot but it doesn’t quite hit all quadrants, including families like The Lion King does.
After that, families could be drawn to Dora and the Lost City of Gold or The Angry Birds Movie 2, but that’s about it for audiences looking for whole family fare. That could help Lion King have legs and despite the tepid reviews, audiences seem to like it, giving it an “A” CinemaScore.
The Lion King is now playing. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of everything headed to theaters the rest of this year.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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