THE LION KING to Become Broadway's First $1 Billion Show
Looks like Simba won't have to wait to be King anymore, the King of Broadway that is. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this month, Disney's The Lion King will become the first Broadway show to reach $1 billion in cumulative gross. As of October 6th, (almost 16 years to the day it debuted on October 15th, 1997) the musical has raked in more than $997 million from its performances on the Great White Way.
In addition, the movie-turned-stage show will soon pass Les Miserables as the fifth-longest-running show of all time. And to add to the impressive feat, the show's pricing, even with factoring in the use of premium seating for the past 10 years, remains "middle-of-the-pack", averaging $130 per seat compared with $171 and $477 for 'South Park' scribes Trey Parker and Matt Stone's hit The Book of Mormon.
The joyous family production often plays to standing-room-only houses, rarely dipping below 80 percent of the Minskoff Theatre's capacity.
"This humbling milestone is a testament to the vision and artistry of [director] Julie Taymor," says producer and Disney Theatrical Group president Thomas Schumacher of the Tony-winning show which has grossed $5 billion across 21 global productions.
In its 16th year, The Lion King remains ascendant; it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 21 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London's West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg, Madrid and Sao Paolo. To date, The Lion King has played 98 cities in 17 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the stage production of The Lion King has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
The award-winning musical will celebrate a new milestone in December 2013 when it returns to Australia, making it the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history.
THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.