The Lion King Pulls in $23 Million on Opening Night

The latest live-action Disney remake hit theaters last night and it’s already raking in the cash. Jon Favreau’s The Lion King is officially playing in theaters everywhere and had a pretty successful preview night. According to Deadline, the film has already earned $23 million. The movie is now the top-selling Disney remake for preview night, beating Beauty and the Beast’s $16.3 million take. It also impressively beat Incredibles 2’s preview, which was $18.5 million. Deadline reports that the film is doing “some smashing business tonight” with it expected to earn between $22 million and $25 million, calling it a “great start.” The weekend tracking also estimates a total of $180 million to $192 million.

However, despite its Thursday night success, the new movie hasn’t beaten the Thursday night record for July, which still belongs to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. This is especially impressive considering that was before Thursday previews started earlier, meaning the final Harry Potter film scored $43.5 million from midnight showings alone. If The Lion King surpasses $169.1 million this weekend, it will beat Death Hallows Part 2 to become the best domestic July opener ever.

According to Fandango, The Lion King had the second-best pre-sale earner of the year, falling only behind Avengers: Endgame. Deadline wonders whether or not the film’s bad reviews (currently, it has a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes) will hurt the ticket sales, but so far that does not seem to be the case. They also report that as of tomorrow, the new Disney film will be in 4,725 theaters, making it the widest domestic release in history.

The new version of The Lion King stars Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, John Kani, Eric Andre, Florence Kasumba, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfre Woodard, and James Earl Jones.

In a previous interview with Entertainment Weekly, Favreau shared his reasoning behind making the new movie:

“The whole reason for all of this is to make an animated film feel live-action — to have a real crew come in, interface with an animated film, and make all the camera decisions that you would on set, instead of somebody sitting at a keyboard programming in the camera moves,” he explained.

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The Lion King is now playing in theatres everywhere.

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