World Box Office: ‘The Lion King’ Roars

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There was only going to be one king of the jungle this weekend and Disney’s The Lion King announced itself to the world with a resounding roar. John Favreau’s live-action adaptation of the beloved early nineties children’s cartoon made $185 million in its US debut and $269.4 million overseas. Donald GloverBeyoncé, Seth Rogen, James Earl Jones and Eric Andre all-star in this CGI heavy epic filmed in large part on location in South Africa. The Lion King’s gross in China reached $98 million and opened in first place in all of its 51 new foreign territories this weekend. France came in with a resounding $19.6 million while Mexico had an even more impressive opening at $18.7 million, the fourth biggest of all time in the country. Brazil’s $17.9 million was its second-best film debut ever, as was Russia’s $16.7 million launch. Global sales for The Lion King are now at $454.4 million. With the studio’s other animated darling Toy Story 4 sitting at $859.4 million after earning $40.4 million worldwide and their Sony and Marvel co-production Spider-Man: Far from Home, at $970.7 million after a $58.2 million frame, Disney has at least a hand on three potential billion-dollar movies in theaters right now.

As if enough champagne wasn’t flowing in Mickey’s kingdom already, their superhero division finally got its most anticipated accolade. Avengers: Endgame, after 13 weeks in theaters, finally broke Avatar’s all-time nominal box office record and now sits at the number one spot with $2.789 billion in lifetime global earnings. Endgame exploded past $2 billion and took the number two spot from James Cameron’s other box office phenomenon Titanic in just ten days. Things did slow down considerably for Marvel’s magnum opus though, once they reached the $2.65 billion mark in mid-June. The homestretch run at the last $100 million it needed for the all-time prize went at a glacial pace, with global earnings down to just a few million per frame over the past weeks and this past session topping out at $1.95 million. Still, it was enough to crawl past a benchmark that had stood for 12 years and many were expecting to see in place for far longer. Marvel’s die-hard fans and the nerd culture at the core of their global following (and Disney’s commitment to keeping the film in theaters this long) played a large part in adding the final touch to this film’s historic run. One man in Florida is reported to have seen the film at least 116 times, with many other Avenger‘s junkies around the world logging tens and even scores of viewings. Now that Fox only exists as signage, and with three Avatar sequels starting in 2021 and a whole new phase of the MCU in its infancy, it’ll be civil war between James Cameron and Marvel’s Kevin Feige to see who can up the ante this time.

Next weekend, Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to a wilder time in the film industry and its capital, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood starring Brad PittLeonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie, opens in the US along with Canada and India. To enjoy Tarantino’s ninth film, the rest of the world will have to wait until mid-August or the end of next month for Boy II.

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