The Lion King officially passes $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Earlier this year, Disney’s enterprise to remake their animated classics took a small hit when Tim Burton’s Dumbo underperformed with only $352 million globally. But rather being the first sign of declining interest in this initiative, it was merely a fluke. This summer, Disney released re-imaginings of Aladdin and The Lion King, both of which turned out to be immensely successful. In the former’s case, it became the highest-grossing film of Will Smith’s career and hit $1 billion, far exceeding the initial expectations.
Everyone knew The Lion King was going to be a massive hit when it was released. Arguably the pinnacle of Disney’s 1990s renaissance, the original animated feature remains a beloved work in its genre and there were much hype and anticipation to see the star-studded cast breathe new life into the story. As a result of the buzz, The Lion King broke numerous box office records in its opening weekend and had strong legs despite the mixed critical reception. Now, it’s passed another commercial milestone.
According to The Wrap, The Lion King has now passed $1 billion worldwide. With this, it becomes the fifth movie of 2019 to hit that mark and the fourth of the year from Disney. The Lion King is also the fourth modern Disney remake to earn $1 billion globally.
It shouldn’t be surprising The Lion King and Aladdin are two of the biggest hits in this Disney sub-series. Both are favorites among those who grew up in the 1990s, making them the perfect choices to tap into the nostalgia of today’s prime moviegoing audience. Even though neither of these remakes was able to capture the same pure Disney magic as their animated counterparts, there was still interest in seeing the stories retold with new tools. Aladdin and Lion King also benefitted from weak competition for their target demographics. In the latter’s case, it premiered after a down June and more than two weeks after Spider-Man: Far From Home, so it was the biggest draw at the multiplex. Other new releases during this time appealed largely to different target audiences.
Even more so than usual, Disney is dominating the box office in 2019. They currently possess the top five spots of the year on the domestic charts, and four out of the top five spots worldwide. And with Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker due out by the end of the year, they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. It wouldn’t be a shock to see Disney own 70 percent of 2019 top 10 by the time everything’s done – an incredible feat for a single studio.