Another weekend, another box office record for entertainment titan The Walt Disney Company, with Jon Favreau’s remake of The Lion King pushing its worldwide box office haul to $1.334 billion, making it the highest grossing release from the conglomerate’s Walt Disney Pictures division.
Disney’s previous biggest live-action release was Beauty and the Beast with $1.263 billion, while Frozen held the all-time Disney crown on $1.276 billion. With that in mind, The Lion King can now also claim to be the highest-grossing animated film in history, although Disney itself has marketed it as live-action, despite the fact its actually photorealistic CGI and – unlike Favreau’s The Jungle Book – doesn’t actually feature any live-action actors or sets.
Despite coming in under projections with its Q3 earnings thanks to Fox’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix absolutely tanking at the box office, Disney has already broken the record for the highest annual box office gross for a studio with almost half a year to spare (and with Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still to come). That’s thanks in no small part to Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame ($2.795 billion) and Captain Marvel ($1.128 billion), along with another of its live-action remakes in Aladdin ($1.035 billion).
Lions rule the African savanna in The Lion King, which welcomes Donald Glover (Atlanta, Solo: A Star Wars Story) as future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Dreamgirls, Lemonade visual album) as Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Field of Dreams) as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprising his iconic performance from Disney’s 1994 animated classic. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave, Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange) was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard (Juanita, Marvel’s Luke Cage) portrays Simba’s no-nonsense mother, Sarabi. JD McCrary (OWN’s Tyler Perry’s The Paynes, Apple’s Vital Signs) fills the shoes of Young Simba, a confident cub who can’t wait to be king, and Shahadi Wright Joseph (NBC’s Hairspray Live, Broadway’s The Lion King) brings tough cub Young Nala to life.
Directed by Jon Favreau (The Jungle Book), The Lion King features a voice cast that includes Donald Glover (Solo: A Star Wars Story) as Simba, Beyonce (Dreamgirls) as Nala, Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street) as Timon, Seth Rogen (Sausage Party) as Pumbaa, John Oliver (Last Week Tonight) as Zazu, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) as Scar, James Earl Jones (The Lion King) as Mufasa, Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage) as Sarabi, John Kani (Black Panther) as Rafiki, JD McCrary (Vital Signs) as Young Simba, Shahadi Wright Joseph (Hairspray Live) as Young Nala, Eric André (Man Seeking Woman) as Azizi, Florence Kasumba (Black Panther) as Shenzi, and Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator) as Kamari.