The Lion King Box Office

“The Lion King” Roars to Life with $185 Million


July 19-21, 2019

(estimates from


The Lion King $185 million
Spider-Man: Far from Home  $21 million
Toy Story 4 $14.6 million
Crawl $6 million
Yesterday  $5.1 million

Taking a massive bite out of the box office, Disney's "live-action" remake of The Lion King ruled the box office. With an estimated $185 million, that's the biggest July opening of all time, Simba and Co take out the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga eight years ago. Such an enormous debut puts it high on the list of other such remakes and on the highest-grossing films of 2019. Within two weeks, it will be in the top 5, meaning Disney will have the entire top half of the top 10. Yikes. Not only does the film have another week without any major competition, it won't have any family movie competition until at least August 9. That should give it plenty of time to amass a fortune. But it doesn't need time. It's already there. Having opened in almost every major market, it's already earned more than half a billion dollars worldwide.

Spider-Man: Far from Home swung down to second place. In just three weeks, it's only $15 million shy of Homecoming, and should cross $400 million, being only the second Spider-Man flick to ever do that and the ninth MCU movie to pull it off. It's even closer to crossing the $1 billion mark, only the third film to do that this year (though Aladdin is close). Toy Story 4 dropped off just 30 percent, proving that even though The Lion King owned a big portion of the box office, it didn't decimate the competition. It now sits at $375 million.

Crawl slid to fourth place. It's only made $23 million, which now seems to be kind of the ceiling for these lower-tier horror movies. A quick 3-4 weeks and then it's off to streaming and home video. Yesterday held strong at fifth place again. With nearly $60 million, it is one of only a few truly original films in the yearly top 25.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: The Farewell added 31 screens but didn't miss a beat. It averaged $33,473 in its second weekend.
  • By finally getting to $2.8 billion worldwide, Avengers: Endgame is now officially the biggest movie of all time worldwide. Of course, this comes with plenty of caveats. Domestically, it's still behind Avatar when adjusting for inflation (it's actually 16th on that list). And it couldn't come close to beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens here, which sits comfortably at No. 1 with $936 million.
  • Even after a cantankerous interview with the Hollywood Reporter, David Crosby's documentary Remember My Name averaged a cool $10,263 on four screens.

Next week:

The Lion King will stay at No. 1, with around $75-80 million. But No. 2 will be Quentin Tarantino's widest release ever. Once upon a Time in Hollywood is my most anticipated film of the year, and while he's had intermittent box office success over the years, I think his reputation and the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt will allow for a solid $30 million opening.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.