The Lion King 2019 may not look like a traditional animated movie, but it's now the highest-grossing animated movie of all time.
I know we're not supposed to call it "live-action," even though The Lion King gets lumped in with all of Disney's live-action remakes. The new movie is considered a "photorealistic" computer-animated remake of the 1994 animated classic. So it still falls in the animation category. But even if you refuse to see it that way, The Lion King is also now the #1 Disney remake, period.
Disney wins either way, but just this weekend, The Lion King managed to pass the worldwide grosses of Incredibles 2 and Frozen, dethroning Frozen as the highest-grossing animated movie ever.
The Lion King (as of 8/11/19)
Worldwide gross: $1,276,480,335
It's especially impressive when you realize The Lion King is far from done. (So much for my thought that bad reviews might hurt The Lion King box office. Hah!)
Behind Frozen is 2018's Incredibles 2 at $1.242 billion, and Minions at $1.15 billion, then Toy Story 3, Despicable Me 3, Finding Dory, and Zootopia.
Those are worldwide grosses, and not adjusted for inflation. If we're just talking domestic (U.S./Canada) box office, Incredibles 2 is still at the top with $608.5 million, followed by Finding Dory with $486.2 million, then The Lion King currently at $473.1 million. But, as I said, The Lion King is not done. Dory is going to get shoved aside on the domestic front.
That's the thing about The Lion King -- it has done well at the domestic box office, but it has seen HUGE numbers overseas. Incredibles 2 had a fairly even domestic/foreign split, and Finding Dory was pretty close too. But The Lion King is enjoying the kind of numbers that Frozen rode to victory.
The Lion King has made $473.1 million at the domestic box office so far, and a whopping $861.5 million overseas. China, the second biggest market in the world after the domestic box office, is leading the way with $118 million, but the movie has also seen grosses over $50 million from Brazil and France, and over $60 million from the U.K.
It was similar with Frozen -- except Japan was the one to send an incredible $249 million to the movie, helping Frozen make $875.7 million worldwide, along with a small-by-comparison domestic take of $400.7 million. According to IMDb, Japan is just getting The Lion King now in August, so it'll be interesting to see how much that country boosts the movie. Japan gave over $105 million to Aladdin, helping that Disney remake recently pass $1 billion. (Their company cousin Toy Story 4 has yet to pass $1 billion, but it's getting close.)
So The Lion King is going to keep growing. It's setting a new bar for animated movies at the box office, and also showing a new look for animation with a movie that looks so real it has actually fooled a few people. (Director Jon Favreau said there's only one live-action shot in the movie, and the rest of the shots were created by animators and CG artists.)
If you're hung up on The Lion King being "live-action" and not "animated," well, it's still #1, since it also passed the remake of Beauty and the Beast:
Beauty and the Beast
Everyone from Box Office Mojo to Forbes is calling The Lion King an animated movie in this context. However, they also list the 2019 Lion King in the live-action remake categories. This is just Disney trying to win EVERY conceivable title! But you can call The Lion King whatever you want, just as long as you call it the king. It's the circle of box office liiiiiiife.