Disney's 2019 remake of the animated classic "Lion King" has crossed into the rarified air of the billion-dollar movie. But where does the film about an orphaned lion cub stand against the biggest-earning flicks of all time, and can it reach the No. 1 spot?
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This image released by Disney shows characters, from left, Mufasa, voiced by James Earl Jones, and young Simba, voiced by JD McCrary, in a scene from "The Lion King." (Disney via AP)
With a release date of July 19, just short of a month in theaters, the not-so-animated, CGI version of "Lion King," starring Beyonce and Donald Glover, has earned $473 million in the states and another $863.8 million in foreign ticket sales for a total of about $1.3 billion dollars worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. That is good enough to be ranked as the 12th biggest worldwide box office earner of all time right behind "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," which brought in $1.34 billion.
Why is the reimagined Disney classic doing so well? "The new "Lion King" is drawing a very impressive mix of old and young, impressive since there is also strong repeat attendance, especially in Europe," explains media analyst Porter Bibb of MediaTech Capital Partners.
In 2018, a film about another animal earned big numbers when "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman, cracked the top 10 list of all-time highest-grossing films worldwide also bringing in about $1.3 billion. Further up the list, and rounding out the top three best earners ever, is the film that made America fall in love with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, "Titanic," which saw worldwide grosses of $2.18 billion.
"A big question mark, [for 'Lion King'] however, is China," Bibb goes on to say. "'End Game' is doing exceptionally and was number one in China until it was knocked off the top spot by a Chinese clone of the Marvel comic book films. With schools about to reopen for the fall term, this may slow down "Lion King's" race to the top."
So who is the one true king and the ruler of the box office? "Lion King" is on track to give 'Avengers: End Game' a run for the money as the world's top box office earner," says Bibb.
"Avengers: Endgame," with an all-star cast, including Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, has made the most money of any movie ever made. The final saga of the superhero franchise, pulled in an impressive $2.795 billion dollars since its release earlier in 2019 and the film is still continuing to draw in audiences.
Good luck, "Lion King," and hakuna matata!