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.

Just Posted

Skeena-Bulkley Valley once again goes NDP

Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach set to follow in Nathan Cullen’s footsteps

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

Security guard bitten, punched by patient at Terrace hospital

Violent incident one of many in Northwest B.C., nurses union says

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Most Read