3D Release Takes Top Spot With $30 Million Domestic Gross; Beloved Tale Continues to Captivate Global Audiences on Screen and Stage
BURBANK, Calif. – September 19, 2011 –The Circle of Life continues as The Walt Disney Studios’ The Lion King 3D opened at #1 in theaters this weekend with an estimated gross of $30 million. The Lion King is now the third highest-grossing animated film of all time at the domestic box office. This release of The Lion King marks the fifth biggest September opening in industry history, the second biggest September opening in Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures history, and the first reissue to open #1 in 14 years. The film will remain in theaters for a limited engagement ahead of its Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D™ premiere on October 4.
Meanwhile, the London production of the hugely popular stage show recently celebrated its 5000th performance on September 13. The award-winning musical is also preparing to launch its Spanish premiere in Madrid, the largest stage musical ever presented in Spain. Opening October 21 at Lope de Vega Theatre, it is the first time the musical has been performed in the Spanish language. Since opening in 1997, The Lion King has been performing to sold-out crowds on Broadway with a remarkable 5,757 shows thus far.
“The Lion King has proven again and again the transcendent power of great stories and characters,” said Rich Ross, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “From the screen to the stage, this timeless classic continues to touch the hearts of audiences of all ages around the world.”
- First released in 1994, The Lion King is the third highest-grossing animated film of all time with $358.6 at the domestic box office (includes all releases), the highest-grossing traditional hand-drawn animated film of all time, and the highest-grossing film from Walt Disney Animation Studios.
- The Lion King is the top-performing home entertainment release ever. The Blu-ray™ debut marks the first time it has been available in any form since 2004.
- The Lion King is Disney’s best-selling soundtrack. It received Diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (10x platinum). Only four other soundtracks in history have been certified Diamond.
- Best of The Lion King, a collection of songs from and inspired by the films and the show, is currently the #3 soundtrack on iTunes.
- The Lion King has won 2 Academy Awards®, 3 Golden Globes®, 6 Tony Awards® and 3 Grammys®, among other accolades, including over 70 major theatrical honors worldwide.
- The stage show has been seen by more than 60 million people worldwide, grossing over $4.6 billion in 18 productions across 14 countries, spanning 5 continents and 8 languages.
- Current productions include Broadway, North American Tour, Las Vegas, London, Hamburg, Tokyo and Singapore.
- The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 and in January 2011 became its seventh longest-running show ever; it continues to be one of the highest-grossing on a weekly basis.
- The North American tour recently completed a record-breaking, sold-out, 32-show premiere engagement at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal, grossing more than $7 million – the highest-grossing theatrical production in the venue’s history.
ABOUT “THE LION KING”
An unforgettable story, breathtaking animation, beloved characters and award-winning music sets the stage for The Lion King, a Disney classic that follows the adventures of Simba, the feisty lion cub who “just can’t wait to be king.” But his envious Uncle Scar has plans for his own ascent to the throne, and he forces Simba’s exile from the kingdom. Alone and adrift, Simba soon joins the escapades of a hilarious meerkat named Timon and his warmhearted warthog pal, Pumbaa. Adopting their carefree lifestyle of “Hakuna Matata,” Simba ignores his real responsibilities until he realizes his destiny and returns to the Pride Lands to claim his place in the “Circle of Life.” The all-star vocal talents—including Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Ernie Sabella, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Robert Guillaume, Cheech Marin and Moira Kelly—rip-roaring comedy and uplifting messages of courage, loyalty and hope make this a timeless tale for all ages. Produced by Don Hahn and directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff from a script by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton, The Lion King is rated G by the MPAA.
ABOUT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
For more than 85 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under four banners: Walt Disney Pictures, which includes Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel; and Touchstone Pictures, which includes the distribution of live-action films from DreamWorks Studios. Original music and motion picture soundtracks are produced under Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records, while Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Broadway theatrical productions, Disney on Ice and Disney LIVE!. For more information, visit www.waltdisneystudios.com.