Disney's 'The Lion King' Looks to Roar at the Weekend Box Office
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $78.5 million on Friday, Disney's The Lion King is on its way to a three-day performance around $190 million if not higher. On top of that, audiences appear to be enjoying what they're seeing, giving the film an "A" CinemaScore in contrast to the mixed-to-negative reviews from film critics.

Internationally, The Lion King opened in several additional markets, including UK, Spain and Mexico, taking the full total to 52 material markets to date with an international cume that now stands at $192 million. This overall gross includes $81 million in China, where the film opened last Friday.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Disney's The Lion King delivered $23 million from Thursday night previews yesterday beginning at 6PM. This is well above the $16.3 million Beauty and the Beast brought in from previews as well as the $18.5 million for Incredibles 2. The film also opened in a further 22 international markets yesterday, including Russia and Brazil, taking the full total to 42 material markets to date from which the current international cume now stands at $130.5 million heading into the weekend.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: After five consecutive weeks wherein the weekend domestic box office failed to top the same weekend from a year prior, this weekend will easily buck the trend. Leading the charge, Disney's latest release, the "live-action" adaptation of The Lion King, is likely to outperform the combined top twelve from the same weekend last year all on its own as it is ushered into over 4,700 domestic locations and all over the world.

With what has been a summer box office season that has seen plenty of films under-perform and miss expectations, Disney is hoping their CGI adaptation of the studio's beloved animated feature The Lion King delivers not only at the domestic box office, but all around the world. The film will launch in a record 4,725 domestic locations this weekend and industry expectations have it pegged for a debut around $175-180 million, which would be enough to top the current July opening record holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which opened with $169 million back in 2011. A performance in that range would also be the second largest of the year so far behind only Avengers: Endgame ($357.1m) and ahead of Captain Marvel ($153.4m). It would also top Beauty and the Beast, another Disney live-action reimagining, which opened with $174.7 million in March 2017 in 4,210 locations.

Looking at Beauty and the Beast as a comp, the theater count will certainly work in The Lion King's favor, but IMDb page view performance does show Lion King lagging slightly behind Beauty over the two weeks leading up to release. At the same time, however, Lion King is outpacing last June's Incredibles 2, which opened with $182 million. Not working in the film's favor are the moderate to poor reviews it has received so far, rating just 56% on RottenTomatoes and 55 on Metacritic. The film should be largely critic proof over opening weekend, but should audiences agree with the critical consensus this is likely to have something of an impact on the film's longevity. As for this weekend, we're expecting anything from $175-210 million, sticking with a forecast right around $190 million, though given how so many films have performed lately, we wouldn't be a bit surprised if it came up a bit short.

Internationally, The Lion King began playing in China last weekend where it brought in over $54 million. Since then that gross has blossomed to $72.6 million and the film has also now opened in France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and others, bringing the international total to $94.5 million so far. By the end of this weekend, The Lion King will have opened in all international markets with the exception of Japan, Italy and Hong Kong.

Sony's Spider-Man: Far from Home will move to second position after two weekends atop the chart as we're anticipating a drop around 52% or so for a three-day around $22 million. Should the forecast hold, the film will finish the weekend topping $320 million domestically as it nears $1 billion worldwide.

Disney's second film to land in the top five will be Pixar's Toy Story 4, which we're expecting to dip around -40% for a $12.5+ million three-day and a domestic cume nearing $375 million by the end of the weekend.

Paramount's Crawl should finish in fourth position, it's just a matter of how much it falls from its $12 million debut last weekend. We're leaning toward a -47% dip and a three-day nearing $6.3 million, but it could just as easily slip -57% and finish the weekend closer to $5 million. The "B" CinemaScore and solid reviews has us a little more optimistic this one can finish on the higher end this weekend.

Rounding out the top five is Universal's Yesterday, which has racked up nearly $52 million domestically so far, doubling its $26 million budget and this weekend we're expecting. -36% drop and a three-day around $4.3 minion. Should our forecast hold we're looking at a $57 million domestic gross by the end of the weekend.

This weekend will also see Bleecker's The Art of Self-Defense expand into 550 locations (+543) while Sony Classics will debut the documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name in four theaters.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • The Lion King (4,725 theaters) - $190.0 M
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home (4,415 theaters) - $22.0 M
  • Toy Story 4 (3,750 theaters) - $12.6 M
  • Crawl (3,170 theaters) - $6.4 M
  • Yesterday (2,661 theaters) - $4.3 M
  • Stuber (3,050 theaters) - $4.2 M
  • Aladdin (2,105 theaters) - $4.1 M
  • Annabelle Comes Home (1,981 theaters) - $3.0 M
  • Midsommar (1,857 theaters) - $1.8 M
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2 (1,375 theaters) - $1.6 M

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