Box Office: THE LION KING takes over the globe as ENDGAME finally passes AVATAR’s record!

Welcome to the Beat’s Weekend Box Office Recap!

Things were pretty crazy here at The Beat and in San Diego where a small fraction of the country’s population gathered to celebrate pop culture at the annual geekfest Comic-Con . That didn’t keep the rest of America from getting out of the heat and humidity to go to the movies as a nasty heat wave hit the country.

Americans’ movie of choice? Disney’s The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring the voices of Donald GloverBeyoncéSeth RogenChiwetel EjioforBilly EichnerJohn Oliver and many more.

The CG-heavy “live action” remake brought in an estimated $185 million to top the box office with Disney’s best showing for a non-Marvel non-Star Wars movie, besting the $182.7 million opening of The Incredibles 2 last year, as well as 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, another live action remake that opened with $174.7 million on its way to $500 million plus. That’s just slightly less than my own prediction earlier in the week, but it might end up making more when actual numbers are reported Monday afternoon.

The Lion King roared into the weekend with a record for widest North American release ever, opening in 4,725 theaters on Friday. But first, it brought in $23 million from Thursday previews, the second best for the year after Avengers: Endgame. That number was rolled into Friday’s $78.5 million, which was another great number for Disney.

That number makes Lion King the biggest July opener as well as the ninth biggest domestic opener ever, just behind Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015, and that was the weakest opening for any of Marvel’s Avengers movies. Just to give some idea of the total domination Disney currently has over the domestic box office, nine of the ten biggest openings ever come from the Mouse House and 12 out of the top 15 — Lion King knocked Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises out of the top 15, although Warner Bros. still holds two spots.

The Lion King also continues the summer tradition of audiences liking movies more than critics, as it received an “A” CinemaScore compared to the mixed reviews it earned pre-release.

Lion King also performed well overseas, taking in $269.4 million and bringing its global total to $531 million. China accounts for $97.5 million of that amount with both the UK and France close to $20 million each, followed by Brazil, South Korea and Australia, which each have grossed in the $17 to 18 million total for the movie.

The other big box office news of the weekend is that, besides killing it at Comic-Con, Marvel Studios finally got the latest chapter of its flagship title, Avengers: Endgame, past the global record held by James Cameron‘s Avatar for nearly ten years. The new global record is now $2.79 billion and Endgame should hold that spot until Disney (who now holds the top two global records after buying Fox) rereleases Avatar leading into the release of its first-of-four sequels in 2021. On top of that, Endgame is still sitting just outside the top 10 at #11 with $850 million grossed domestically.

Back to the top 10, Sony’s Spider-Man: Far from Home was nudged down to second place with $21 million, down 54% in its third weekend with a domestic total of $319.7 million. More importantly, the eighth Spider-man feature film (including last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) is close to crossing the billion dollar mark worldwide itself with $970 million, $200 million of that from China alone.

Spider-Man is also ahead of Disney’s Toy Story 4 in that respect, as the animated sequel took third place in its fifth weekend with $14.6 million (down 30%) bringing its domestic total to $375.5 million, as it looks to unseat Captain Marvel as the second biggest movie of the year. It has grossed $859 million worldwide since opening in June.

Last week’s two new openers, Crawl from Paramount and Stuber from Fox, both took moderately sizable (50-51%) second week hits, but Paramount’s croc thriller remained ahead in fourth place with $6 million to Stuber‘s $4 million.

In between the two was Universal’s Beatles rom-com Yesterday, remaining in fifth place with $5.1 million, down just 24% as it continues to bring in audiences. The Danny Boyle-directed movie has made $57.6 million in North America alone, which is over twice its budget.

Another impressive showing by Disney this summer can be seen in the success of Guy Ritchie‘s live action Aladdin, starring Will Smith, which took seventh place this weekend with $3.8 million, but it’s now sitting at $340 million domestically as it enjoyed its ninth week in the top 10. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, as it also makes its way to the 1 billion mark worldwide with $988.8 million.

The rest of the top 10 consisted of Annabelle Comes Home ($2.7 million), A24’s Midsommar ($1.6 million) and Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 with $1.6 million

A24 is having another big hit in Lulu Wang‘s The Farewell, starring Awkwafina, who was also announced as part of the cast of Marvel’s Shang-Chi over the weekend. The Chinese family drama expanded into 35 theaters this weekend, where it brought in $1.2 million, enough to place it at #12. The Farewell averaged $33,473 per theater after having the best per-theater average of the year last weekend, and it’s working its way to a nationwide expansion on August 2. We probably can expect it to make its way into the top 10 next week, as well.

By comparison, Bleecker Street expanded Jesse Eisenberg‘s dark comedy The Art of Self-Defense into 550 theaters nationwide, but it only took in $1 million or $1,919 per theater, so it’s pretty much dead.

This Week’s Top 10: 

Rank Last Week Rank Movie Studio Weekend Gross % Change Total Gross
1 New The Lion King Disney $185 million N/A $185 million
2 1 Spider-Man: Far from Home Sony $21 million -54% $319.7 million
3 2 Toy Story 4 Disney $14.6 million -30% $375.5 million
4 3 Crawl Paramount $6 million -50% $23.8 million
5 5 Yesterday Universal $5.1 million -24% $57.6 million
6 4 Stuber Fox $4 million -51% $16.1 million
7 6 Alladin Disney $3.8  million -38% $340 million
8 7 Annabelle: Comes Home New Line/WB $2.7 million -53% $66.6 million
9 8 Midsommar A24 $1.6 million -56% $22.5 million
10 9 The Secret Life of Pets 2 Universal $15 million -52% $151.5 million


The box office wasn’t going to have to work too hard to best the same weekend last year as The Lion King made more on its own in its first three days than every single movie did combined  last year. In that case, Denzel Washington‘s The Equalizer 2 was #1 with $36 million, followed closely in second place by Univeresal’s musical sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again with $35 million.

Check back on Wednesday for The Beat‘s weekly Box Office Preview with another week of just one big release, in this case Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood.

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