FILE - This file image released by Disney shows, from left, young Simba, voiced by JD McCrary, Timon, voiced by Billy Eichner, and Pumbaa, voiced by Seth Rogen, in a scene from “The Lion King.” (Disney via AP, File)

‘The Lion King’ rules and ‘Endgame’ scores all-time record

‘The Lion King’ roared into 4,725 North American theatres, where it grossed a stunning $185 million

If there was any doubt that the 2019 box office belonged to the Walt Disney Co., this weekend put an end to it. Not only did its photorealistic remake of “The Lion King” devour opening weekend records for the month of July and PG-rated films, but “Avengers: Endgame” also crept past “Avatar” to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

“The Lion King” this weekend roared into 4,725 North American theatres, where it grossed a stunning $185 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Although reviews were mixed for Jon Favreau’s remake of the 1994 animated film, audiences still turned out in droves to hear the A-list voice cast, from Beyoncé to Donald Glover, and see the innovative technology that made the film possible.

“We’ve had a spectacular run this weekend,” said Cathleen Taff, Disney’s president of distribution. “We really did know we had something special with (“The Lion King”) given its popularity with fans of all ages.”

Industry experts had pegged “The Lion King” for a $150 million opening, which turned out to be far too modest a projection. Instead, with $185 million, Disney got a few records to boast about: It’s the ninth-biggest opening of all time, a July record (unseating “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”) and a PG-rating record (taking over from “The Incredibles 2”).

It’s the second time this year a beloved Disney brand has overwhelmed a tepid critical response. “Aladdin,” which is still in the top 10 after nine weeks in theatres, has made $989 million globally.

“Certain brands have so much goodwill and equity,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Reviews clearly didn’t matter at all.”

And, having opened in China a week early, “The Lion King” has amassed over $531 million in just 10 days. Audiences also embraced large format and 3D for the event film: 36% of that total came from 3D showings and $25.2 million from IMAX.

This is just the latest in a long string of wins for Disney, which now holds five of the top six spots for the year. It’s evident even in this weekend’s charts. Five weeks in, “Toy Story 4” is still at No. 3 with an additional $14.6 million (behind “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which slipped to second in its third weekend with $21 million). The Pixar sequel has grossed $859.4 million globally. “Aladdin” is in 7th place, with $3.8 million.

And then there is “Avengers: Endgame,” which didn’t make the top 10, but that hardly matters. With $1.5 million globally added this weekend, it surpassed “Avatar’s” all-time record, not accounting for inflation.

“Avatar” grossed $2.789 billion worldwide, and “Avengers: Endgame” is currently at $2.79 billion.

“‘Endgame’ finally did it,” Taff said. “It’s a huge achievement.”

READ MORE: ‘The Lion King’ cast talks reimagining the Disney classic

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige previewed that this was a sure-thing Saturday night at San Diego Comic-Con.

“You have to shout-out to Mr. James Cameron, who held that title for a long time,” Feige said. “If you adjust for inflation, he still holds the title, and he’ll probably get the title again as soon as he puts out another movie. But for right now … ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is the biggest film of all time.”

This weekend helped knock the year-to-date deficit from 9.1% to 7.2%.

“That’s what a massive Disney debut will do for the box office,” Dergarabedian said. “You’ve got to give some credit to the holdovers that are doing quite well, like ‘Yesterday.’ But it’s just a great weekend for the industry and absolutely a shot in the arm that was needed.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Comscore.

Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.”The Lion King,” $185 million.

2.”Spider-Man: Far From Home,” $21 million.

3.”Toy Story 4,” $14.6 million.

4.”Crawl,” $6 million.

5.”Yesterday,” $5.1 million.

6.”Stuber,” $4 million.

7.”Aladdin,” $3.8 million.

8.”Annabelle Comes Home,” $2.7 million.

9.”Midsommar,” $1.6 million.

10.”The Secret Life of Pets 2,” $1.5 million.

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

IN PHOTOS: 2020 Wilgress Lake Fishing Derby

Fishermen dotted Wilgress Lake for the Boundary Métis Association’s annual event

Grand Forks marches against gender violence

The Grand Forks march was part of 1 Billion Rising, a global movement against gender violence

IN PHOTOS: Boundary Museum opens its doors to families

Sing, drum, learn and fall back in time!

IN PHOTOS: Family Day weekend in Grand Forks

Fire drills, relays, road hockey and hot dogs!

Two adults and a child escape early morning fire in Cascade

Three pets did not make it out of the structure

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Most Read