Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars to Record $192M U.S. Bow, Hits $544M Globally

Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.
'The Lion King'

Jon Favreau's update of the 1994 classic animated film is a needed boost for the troubled box office. Final grosses were even better than Sunday estimates,

Hear Simba roar.

Furthering Disney's domination, Jon Favreau's The Lion King opened to a record-breaking $191.8 million at the North American box office over the weekend for an early global total of $543.6 million.

Final weekend grosses were ahead of Sunday's estimates of $185 million domestically and $531 million globally. The revision means that Lion King has passed up Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.3 million) to become the eighth-biggest opening of all time domestically, not adjusted for inflation.

The movie scored the biggest domestic launch ever for a PG film, not to mention notching a record for a Disney release outside of Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, not adjusted for inflation. It also bested the final Harry Potter pic ($169.2 million) to land the top start for a July title.

Overseas, The Lion King earned a mighty $269.4 million over the weekend from 52 markets. It came in No. 1 everywhere and made a particularly strong showing in Russia, Australia and the entire Latin America region. The overall foreign total of $351.8 million includes $97.5 million from China, where it debuted early last weekend.

Employing groundbreaking photorealistic CG and featuring a star-studded voice cast, The Lion King is another win for Disney's aggressive campaign to reimagine its animated classics and a career-best start for Favreau, who also directed Disney's Jungle Book remake.

The box office needed a boost. As of Friday, 2019 revenue was running behind last year by 9 percent. Through Sunday, the gap was lowered to 7 percent.

The Lion King was buoyed by glowing exit scores and an ethnically diverse audience. Ticket buyers disregarded lukewarm reviews, awarding the film an A CinemaScore.

The film skewed female by as much as 60 percent. The demo mix was 44 percent Caucasian, 22 percent African-American, 20 percent Hispanic and 14 percent Asian/Other, according to PostTrak.

The movie's star-studded voice cast features Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, with Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Kani and John Oliver playing other classic characters from the 1994 original. James Earl Jones reprises his original role as Mufasa.

In terms of other Disney remakes, Beauty and the Beast opened to $175 million in 2017, followed by Alice in Wonderland with $116 million in 2010 and $103 million for Favreau's Jungle Book in 2016. Earlier this summer, Aladdin bowed to $91.5 million on its way to currently resting at $988.8 million globally (it's now assured of crossing the $1 billion mark). Not every film in this Disney stable has worked; this spring, Dumbo was a major disappointment.

But there is little that can slow the Disney empire down. Over the weekend, the studio — which currently commands more than 40 percent of domestic market share — also celebrated Avengers: Endgame passing Avatar to become the top-grossing title of all time at the global box office, not adjusted for inflation.

No film dared to open nationwide opposite The Lion King. That left holdovers to forage for scraps.

Sony and Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Far From Home came in No. 2 in its third weekend with $21 million as it swung past the $300 million mark domestically and neared $1 billion globally. The pic's foreign total through Sunday is $651.1 million for $970.7 million globally, the top showing for the Spider-Man franchise, unadjusted. It's weekend haul offshore was $32 million from 67 markets.

Pixar and Disney's Toy Story 4 took third place with $14.6 million in its fifth weekend for a domestic cume of $375.5 million and $859.4 million globally, including a weekend gross of $25.8 million from 44 territories.

Lion King and Toy Story 4 weren't all Disney had to celebrate as Avengers: Endgame passed up Avatar to become the top grossing film of all time worldwide, and Aladdin neared the $1 billion mark with a cume through Sunday of $988.8 million.

Paramount's disaster-horror pic Crawl made gains in its second weekend, grossing $6 million to come in fourth domestically. The film's North American total through Sunday is $23.8 million for a global cume of $33.7 million against a $13 million production budget.

Working Title and Universal's Yesterday rounded out the top five as it grew its domestic total to $57.6 million for a global tally of $98.2 million. The film is unique in being the only adult-skewing title to work on a nationwide basis this summer.

Highlights at the specialty box office included filmmaker Lulu Wang's The Farewell, the critically acclaimed dramedy starring Awkwafina that sports a rare 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The A24 release grossed a stellar $1.2 million from 35 locations in its second weekend for a location average of $33,084.

Several new documentaries debuted, including Sony Pictures Classics' David Crosby: Remember My Name, which grossed $41,050 from four theaters for a promising location average of $10,263.

And Neon made a renewed push for Apollo 11, timed to Saturday's 50th anniversary of the moon landing. The doc grossed $75,000 from 107 cinemas in its 20th weekend — including $66,000 on Saturday alone — for a domestic total of $9 million, the best showing of the year so far for a doc.

July 22, 12:25 p.m. Updated with final grosses.