Despite a lukewarm summer box office, Jon Favreau's The Lion King has been a tentpole for Walt Disney Studios. Thanks to another solid weekend at the box office, the photorealistic remake is now the highest-grossing animated film to hit theaters. Through Saturday night, the Beyoncé and Donald Glover-starring hit has grossed over $1.33 billion worldwide ($473.10 million domestically). The honor was previously held by Frozen, which finished its run with $1.28b globally and $400.73m stateside.
Before we get too far, it should be noted that yes, The Lion King is technically an animated film. Though some have called it a live-action remake, it's still classic as an animated flick due to the computer-generated natured of its characters.
It's just another win for The Walt Disney Company, which has already set a new box office record three-quarters of the way through the year. Through July, Disney movies have made upwards of $7.67b globally, a total that broke last year's record of $7.61b with five full months left in the calendar year.
The Lion King has been a massive earning for the House of Mouse, but it's nowhere close to toppling Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame. The Russo Brothers-directed movie unseated Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all-time on its way to a massive $2.79b haul.
The studio still has a few massive films in the hopper — like Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — meaning the studio's bank account will grow even further. If the two films made as much as their respective predecessors, there's still at least an additional $2b for Disney to make left this year.
After taking Disney, it's attractions, and it's movie studios to new heights, chief executive Bob Iger has previously said he plans to step down when his contract expires in 2021.
"I've been engaged with the board for quite some time in some discussion about a succession, and they've been engaged in a succession process, and we continue to feel that they will be able to identify my successor on a timely enough basis so that this company has a smooth transition," Iger said.
"I do want to say, by the way, since a lot has been said internally — and I think, probably, maybe felt now that we've shown this all to you — that what we're putting forward is an aggressive strategy, and that's very purposeful. Because we feel, obviously, that strategy is extremely important to us and we feel that if we're going to implement it, we've got to be very, very serious and be all in on it. And that's because we believe that that is the best way for this to succeed."
The Lion King is now in theaters. What'd you think of the live-action remake? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!