No other film is daring to open nationwide opposite the Disney remake.
Look for the box office to roar back to life this weekend with the debut of Jon Favreau’s The Lion King.
If prerelease tracking is any indication, the Disney tentpole will easily earn $150 million or more in its North American debut. Globally, it should finish the weekend with a total $400 million to $450 million after opening to $54 million in China last weekend.
The Lion King uses groundbreaking photorealistic CG animation in re-creating the classic 1994 animated film. So far critics are divided, with the movie’s current RottenTomatoes score resting at 59 percent.
The star-studded voice cast includes Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Kani and John Oliver. James Earl Jones reprises his original role as Mufasa.
Outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, only three of Disney’s live-action titles have opened north of $100 million, including Beauty and the Beast. The Jungle Book debuted to $103.3 million, while Alice In Wonderland started off with $116 million.
After unfurling early in China, The Lion King opening day in almost every foreign market is this weekend, with the exception of Hong Kong (July 25), Japan (Aug. 9) and Italy (Aug. 21).
No other film dared to open nationwide against The Lion King, which will surely serve to increase Disney’s market share following summer blockbuster hits Aladdin and Avengers: Endgame. The latter is close to surpassing Avatar to become the top-grossing film of all time, not adjusted for inflation.
Overall, however, year-to-date revenue is running more than 8 percent behind last year at the same time.