Disney’s The Lion King is joining the billion dollar club. No, not that Lion King. The new one. Indeed, director Jon Favreau’s “live-action” remake of Disney’s critically acclaimed 1994 animated film is crossing $1 billion at the worldwide box office as of today, making it the sixth live-action Disney film ever to hit this milestone. It’s the second Disney Live Action film of 2019 to cross $1 billion after the live-action remake of Aladdin, and it now joins Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides as the only live-action Disney movies to cross $1 billion (note: I didn’t say this was a barometer of quality).
Clearly Disney’s new trend of mining its classic properties for live-action updates is working, and the success of The Lion King—despite mixed and some downright negative reviews—solidifies this as the way forward for the Mouse House as far as live-action films are concerned. So don’t expect the live-action trend to conclude after next year’s Mulan, as updates of films like Snow White, Peter Pan, and The Little Mermaid are all already deep in development.
The 2019 Lion King’s box office performance has now surpassed the lifetime gross of the 2D animated film, which hit $968.4 million worldwide. Adjusted for inflation the 1994 Lion King is still top dog, but Disney’s new version is showing no signs of slowing down—it picked up a whopping $76 million in its second weekend of release.
As is the case with most blockbusters these days, The Lion King’s box office is being driven by a strong international performance. The film has now grossed $638.5 million internationally, versus a still-impressive $360.9 million domestic.
Speaking of, domestically The Lion King 2019 has already outperformed the domestic totals of Alice in Wonderland 2010, Aladdin 2019, and The Jungle Book 2016. Beauty and the Beast 2017 is currently Disney’s highest-performing live-action remake domestically with a total of $504 million, but that number doesn’t seem wholly out of reach for The Lion King, especially with no other family films scheduled for release until mid-August.
So yeah, The Lion King 2019 is huge. Like it or not, these Disney live-action remakes aren’t going anywhere.