Will The Lion King rule summer box office with record-breaking debut?

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Disney’s upcoming reimagining of The Lion King is poised to be one of the biggest hits of the summer if early box office tracking is to be believed. This is one of three similar live-action remakes that Disney has coming out in 2019. Well, there has been some debate about whether or not this qualifies as live-action, since all of the animals, real as they may look, are being created using CGI. In any event, the new take on the animated classic is set to hit theatres in July and it looks like this one is going to be a massive moneymaker.

Early box office tracking has the movie bringing in between $180 and $230 million on opening weekend. Even on the low end, that would mean The Lion King would have the biggest opening weekend for one of these Disney reimaginings to date. At present, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast is on top, having earned an impressive $174.7 million on its opening weekend, on its way to a tremendous $1.26 billion global take. That bodes very well for this Jon Favreau-directed remake of the beloved 1994 animated classic.

Assuming The Lion King cracks the higher end of those box office projections, it will earn its place amongst the biggest opening weekends ever at the box office. It won’t get anywhere near Avengers: Endgame, which shattered the record with a $357.1 million opening just last month. However, it could conceivably overtake Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million) for the number four spot. Either way, even on the low end, it could very easily crack the top ten, coming in just above Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million). Really, this is just going to continue the pattern of Disney competing with itself.

Case in point, the only non-Disney movie in the top ten opening weekend chart currently is Jurassic World, which debuted with a monster $202.8 million back in 2015. The Lion King will come in well above Tim Burton’s Dumbo, which managed to bring in $45.9 million when it debuted back in March. Director Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin opens this weekend and is expected to bring in between $75 and $85 million. Even so, it’s going to pale in comparison to the power of Simba.

The impressive voice cast for the remake includes Donald Glover (Simba) Beyonce (Nala), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), John Kani (Rafiki), John Oliver (Zazu), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Billy Eichner (Timon), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), Eric Andre (Azizi) and Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), with James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. It’s worth mentioning that tracking for major blockbusters has been a bit off in certain cases in recent years. Plus, it’s still quite early. A lot could depend on how critics respond to Jon Favreau’s reimagining. If it gets some positive buzz, who knows how high this number could go? The Lion King is set to hit theatres on July 19. This news was previously reported by Box Office Pro.

 

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