Employing groundbreaking photorealistic CG and featuring a star-studded voice cast, The Lion King is another win for Disney's aggressive campaign to reimagine its animated classics, and a career-best start for Jon Favreau, who also directed Disney's The Jungle Book remake.
The box office needed a boost. As of Friday, 2019 revenue was running behind last year by 9 percent. Through Sunday (July 21), the gap was 7 percent.
The Lion King was buoyed by glowing exit scores and an ethnically diverse audience. Ticket buyers disregarded lukewarm reviews, awarding the film an A CinemaScore.
The film skewed female by as much as 60 percent. The demo mix was 44 percent Caucasian, 22 African American, 20 percent Hispanic and 14 percent Asian/Other, according to PostTrak.
The movie's star-studded voice cast features Donald Glover as Simba and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, with Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Kani and John Oliver playing other classic characters from the 1994 original. James Earl Jones reprises his original role as Mufasa.
In terms of other Disney remakes, Beauty and the Beast opened to $175, followed by Alice in Wonderland with $116 million and $103 million for Favreau's Jungle Book in 2016. Earlier this summer, Aladdin bowed to $91.5 million on its way to currently resting at north of $960 million globally. Not every film in this Disney stable has worked. This spring, Dumbo was a major disappointment.
But there is little that can slow the Disney empire down. Over the weekend, the studio — which currently commands more than 40 percent of domestic marketshare — also celebrated Avengers: Endgame passing up Avatar to become the top grossing title of all time at the global box office, not adjusted for inflation.
No film dared to open nationwide opposite The Lion King. That left holdovers to forage for scraps.
Sony and Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Far From Home came in No. 2 in its third weekend with $21 million as it swung past the $300 million mark domestically. Disney and Pixar's Toy Story 4 took third place with $15 million in its fifth weekend for a domestic cume north of $375 million.
Paramount's disaster-horror pic Crawl made gains in its second weekend, grossing $6 million to place fourth. The film's domestic total through Sunday is $23.8 million for a global cume of $9.9 million against a $13 million production budget.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.