The Lion King is projected to rule the box office this summer and could set a new record for Disney's live-action remakes. Over the last several years, Disney's interest in reimagining their classic animated movies has grown as a result of some massive box office success. It began with Alice in Wonderland grossing over $1 billion at the box office in 2010, which was later followed by The Jungle Book just coming short of that mark in 2016. Then in 2017, the remake of Beauty and the Beast dominated the box office on its way to a $1.2 billion haul.
With Aladdin now out in theaters, the next live-action remake that Disney has coming up is The Lion King, which is one of their most popular animated movies ever. Thanks in large part to the built-in interest, many have anticipated The Lion King performing exceptionally well at the box office. The trailers have not shown a lot, as Disney appears to be content playing off the nostalgia a large percentage of the population has for the title. With under two months to go before it hits theaters, the first real signs that those feelings will translate into Disney's financial gain are here.
According to Box Office Pro, the long-range tracking for The Lion King is anywhere between $180M and $230M. Their current projection is almost right in the middle, with the site expecting The Lion King to open to $201M domestically. If The Lion King does land somewhere in this range, it will have the biggest opening weekend of any Disney live-action remake, breaking Beauty and the Beast's record of $174M.
An opening of this size would be a massive start for The Lion King and continue Disney's great year at the box office. They currently have the two highest grossing movies worldwide and domestically in Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. It is important to remember that this tracking is still several weeks out, and the eventual critical reception will have some impact on actual opening weekend projections. With Jon Favreau directing and a star-studded cast that includes Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the return of James Earl Jones though, there's a significant appeal for The Lion King already.
Should The Lion King meet these projections - which includes a $600M domestic total - Disney's live-action remake practices could only grow. They have Mulan coming out in the first half of next year, and Cruella starring Emma Stone set to close out 2020. There's also a new take on The Little Mermaid in the works, as well as Lady and the Tramp heading to Disney+ this year. Disney even has sequels to their remakes on the way, with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil moved up to this fall and The Jungle Book 2 in early development. If The Lion King hits as big as these projections say it will, then it may only be a matter of time before Disney starts working on Lion King 2.
Source: Box Office Pro
- The Lion King (2019) release date: Jul 19, 2019