Every time I talk to someone who has seen The Lion King on stage, I hear nothing but praise for the award-winning show. With its 6,138th performance, Disney’s The Lion King stage show notches another major milestone this week as it becomes the fifth longest-running show on Broadway.
Just four months ago, The Lion King, which debuted on Broadway in 1997, became the highest-grossing show in Broadway history – surpassing in just 15 years the previous record holder, The Phantom of the Opera, which has been running for 24 years. The Lion King is regularly the top show on Broadway on a weekly basis, frequently breaking the $2 million mark.
This Disney classic has seen incredible success not just on Broadway but on stages and screens around the world, and The Lion King’s circle of life continues to flourish.
Last year, the Academy Award-winning 1994 hand-drawn film – which has earned more than $953.9 million in worldwide box office and is the second highest-grossing animated film of all time – was remastered into the immersive 3D format using proprietary techniques developed at Walt Disney Animation Studios. Originally set for a special two-week theatrical engagement ahead of its October 2011 Blu-ray debut, The Lion King proved its unabated popularity by topping the North American box office both weeks and extending its run for more than four months.
All along, Disney Theatrical Productions has worked to expand the stage show to new territories and languages. Nineteen live stage productions of The Lion King have grossed more than $4.8 billion and been seen by more than 64 million people around the world.
A year after passing the 5,000-show mark in London’s West End, The Lion King will launch its first UK tour on September 6. The first Spanish-language production opened in Madrid in October 2011, and the show will make its South American premiere in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March 2013, with a mostly local cast performing the first Portuguese-language version of the show. The Lion King has already been translated into Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, and Mandarin.
Creative visionary Julie Taymor’s stage production has won six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, as well as more than 70 major arts awards around the world.
Congratulations to all the cast and crew who have worked on The Lion King for the past 15 years!