Long range tracking predicts the Jon Favreau-directed re-imagining of 1994 animated classic The Lion King will win the biggest opening weekend for a Disney remake, unseating the $174 million opening weekend of 2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Lion King could roar to an opening weekend take between $180–230 million, according to Box Office Pro. As of May 24, the site predicts a $201m three-day opening weekend and a $650m domestic total.
Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the current record holder for biggest July opening weekend, conjuring $169.2m in 2011. When adjusted for today’s ticket prices, 2008’s The Dark Knight is king at $201m (originally $158.4m).
Those projected numbers top 2010’s Alice in Wonderland ($116m OW, $1.02b WW), 2014’s Sleeping Beauty re-imagining Maleficent ($69m OW, $758m WW), 2015’s Cinderella ($67m OW, $543m WW), Favreau’s own Jungle Book ($103m OW, $966m WW), and Dumbo ($45m OW, $347m WW).
When Disney premiered its teaser trailer in November, The Lion King reached a record-breaking 224.6m global views to become the second most-viewed trailer debut behind only Disney-Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War (238m). Both films were surpassed in December by Avengers: Endgame’s 289m.
In its first day online, the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast was watched an estimated 128 million times. The musical danced to $504m domestically and $1.26 billion worldwide and currently holds 15th place on the highest-grossing all time list.
A recent Fandango survey revealed The Lion King was voted most anticipated summer family film, topping Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4, Disney’s own live-action Aladdin, and Universal-Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2. Also in its favor is minimal competition through Labor Day, which could give the expected blockbuster mighty staying power should it generate strong word of mouth.
Starring Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keegan-Michael Key, John Oliver, Eric Andre, Florence Kasumba, Amy Sedaris, John Kani, Alfre Woodard, and James Earl Jones, The Lion King opens July 19.