The Lion King is the Pride of Broadway replacing Phantom as top global earner

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Disney’s stage musical version of it’s modern animated classic “The Lion King” is the new king of the box office with a savannah-sized $6.2 billion global total. That’s true for movies, theater, or any medium.

Thanks to the Associated Press we know that the 17-year-old stage musical has now taken the crown from Broadway’s mega-hit “The Phantom of the Opera,” which itself has pulled in a tidy $6 billion over the years.

Note, this does not include the box office total for the original “The Lion King” film, which Box Office Mojo has at: $987 million. Even James Cameron’s Avatar film only took in a measly $2.8 billion in comparison and it is the best theatrical release movie of all time.

In the AP story, Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Group, is quoted as saying, “It’s difficult not to become emotional at this realization of the show’s impact.” …”Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that audiences could feel it in their heart, and, to this day, that is the audience experience whether they see the show in Madrid; Appleton, Wisconsin; South Africa; Tokyo or Broadway. Of that, we are deeply proud.”

Hopefully someone at Disney Theatrical has sent Julie Taymor, whose vision as director played a large part in the stage show’s success, a giant box of chocolates.  Elton John and Tim Rice, who did the music and lyrics, might appreciate some chocolates too.

The Lion King currently has 10 productions around the world including ‘permanent’ shows in New York City, London, and Hamburg, plus various tours in North America and the far east. While Disney tries to keep prices low for the mega-hit that it is, they still often lead Broadway each week in terms of box office. So it seems unlikely the final total will be known anytime soon.

Have you seen a production of Disney’s The Lion King musical? Whee did you see it and what do you think about being a part of such an amazing record.

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