Simba is not just the Lion King, he is also king of the box office with the film clawing its way to a massive $23 million in Thursday previews. It’s a great sign to come for Disney’s latest adaptation of one of their classic animated films, which is tracking for a $150 million-plus debut over the weekend.
Disney’s last live-action remake of one of their classic animated films, Guy Ritchie’s ‘Aladdin,’ earned $7 million in previews, and went on to earn $91.5 million over the three-day weekend and $116.8 million over the Memorial Day weekend.
According to Comscore data, ‘The Lion King’ is only the 2nd PG-rated family film to gross $20 million or more in previews, only second to ‘Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince’s $22 million Thursday night box office.
The Lion King’s A-list voice cast is lead by Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, with Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Kani and John Oliver playing other classic characters from the 1994 original. And of course, James Earl Jones reprises his original role as Mufasa, because let’s face it, ain’t nobody else can do that.
Globally, ‘The Lion King’ enjoyed 22 additional openings after opening midweek in several places and launching first in China last weekend. After Thursday, the movie’s international box office, in a total of 42 markets, sits at $130.5 million. New markets include Russia and Brazil, where the movie took in $4.1 million and $4.5 million, respectively. China leads the international markets with a total to date of $76.6 million.