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Disney's THE LION KING Becomes Top Box Office Title in All Mediums

Disney's THE LION KING Becomes Top Box Office Title in All Mediums

Simba no longer has to wait to be King. Variety reports that Disney's The Lion King stage musical has now achieved the most successful box office earnings of any work in any media in entertainment history.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the musical, now celebrating its astounding 17th year on the Great White Way, has racked up worldwide sales of over $6.2 billion, taking over the top spot from Broadway stalwart "The Phantom of the Opera," which logged in $6 billion in global sales. The Broadway production of the circle of life tale is responsible for almost $1.1 billion of the overall take, with the remainder coming in from North American tours and international productions staged in London, Tokyo and 22 major cities throughout the world.

As a result of these earnings, the original 'Lion King' film on which the stage musical is based, now becomes more valuable than any single movie in history, surpassing such blockbusters as the Harry Potter and Star Wars franchises.

"It's difficult not to become emotional at this realization of the show's impact," said president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher. He added that the musical has been on a long journey since its early rehearsal days in 1997. "Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that audiences could feel it in their heart. And, to this day, that is the audience experience whether they see the show in Madrid; Appleton, Wisconsin; South Africa; Tokyo or Broadway. Of that, we are deeply proud."

In its 17th 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, 22 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, the U.K., and Japan, and in London's West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia. The Australian production marks the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history. To date, The Lion King has played 18 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 Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymorand Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to the haunting ballad "Shadowland."

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