The Lion King becomes biggest grossing musical ever
The Lion King musical has grossed more money at the box office than
any other film or stage show in history, the Walt Disney Company said.
Worldwide ticket sales for the show surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this
summer, meaning it has taken more money than huge cinema hits such as
any individual Star Wars film, Titanic and the highest grossing film of
all time, Avatar, which took $2.8bn (£1.7bn).
The Lion King, which was originally a 1994 animated film (gross
$1bn), tells the story of Simba, a royal lion cub who is cast into the
wild by his evil uncle. With the help of his animal friends he goes on
to regain his rightful place as King of the Jungle.
It features music by Elton John and lyrics by Sir Tim Rice. Since its
Broadway debut in 1997 the musical has been seen by an estimated 75
million people in 22 productions around the world."It's difficult not to
become emotional at this realisation of the show's impact," said Thomas
Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions.
Actors from The Lion King musical perform onstage
"Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that
audiences could feel it in their heart," he added. "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
Disney also pointed out that the huge take was from ticket sales
only, and did not include merchandise such as posters or CDs.
The Lion King has now just overtaken Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of
the Opera as the highest grossing musical, even though Phantom has been
running since 1986, making it the longest running show in Broadway
history, and has been seen by 130 million people.
Phantom producers Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Group
congratulated The Lion King in a statement, calling their rival show The
Pride of Broadway.
But producers pointed out that ticket prices were not a factor.
The Lion King is not the most expensive ticket on Broadway, where the
Book of Mormon and Wicked have higher prices.
"It's the distance runner, it's the marathon runner. It's taken 17
years of legitimacy to get there," said David Schrader, executive vice
president and managing director at Disney Theatrical Group."We're never
going to be the top price. We're never going to have the highest VIP
price. We're never going to have the highest orchestra price. We're not
in this for tomorrow afternoon. We're in it for however many years we've
got. We're trying to be moderate."
- The Independent