Lion King: #1 all-time entertainment moneymaker

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Lion King
Simba, Pumba, and Timon sing “Hakuna Matata” (meaning “no worries”), one of the very popular songs from the movie and show.

When The Lion King came out in 1994, Disney fans flocked to the movies to watch Simba challenge his evil uncle Scar for the right to rule the animal kingdom. With unforgettable characters like the meerkat Timon and the warthog Pumba, as well as classic songs by the legendary Elton John, the successful movie eventually inspired a Broadway musical. Now, with over $6.2 billion earned, The Lion King play has become the most successful title in entertainment ever.

The show passed the $6 billion-earning The Phantom of the Opera, and even left movies like Titanic, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Avatar in the dust. Thomas Schumacher, the president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions, expressed, “It’s difficult not to become emotional at this realization of the show’s impact.”

Schumacher reflected on how far the play has come since 1997, explaining, “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.”

What’s even more mind-boggling is that the mega sales figure doesn’t include posters, CDs, or other related goodies. It doesn’t even figure in the nearly $1 billion made by the movie, nor the original soundtrack’s 7 million copies sold. Considering the elaborate costumes, powerful actors, and major stagecraft that goes into each performance of The Lion King, it definitely deserves to be the king of the jungle in box office earnings.

Images courtesy of Disney.