Disney’s The Lion King remake achieves fifth-highest opening weekend ever, earning $20.5m

Disney’s remake of The Lion King made its box office debut over the weekend, drawing in $20.5m across 930 screens, the fifth-highest opening weekend in Australian box office history. The film overtook previous fifth place holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opened in 2011 to $18.3m in Australia, and sits just behind 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi which brought in $20.9m. At the top is Avengers: Endgame which debuted to $34m two months ago.

The CGI version of the Disney classic stars Donald Glover as Simba and Beyonce as Nala, and was directed by Jon Favreau – who previously directed Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book in 2016.

The box office figures will prove a relief for Disney after unfavourable reviews began to emerge out of the US ahead of the Australian premiere date, although the film may have benefitted from the tail-end of the school holiday period.

The Lion King’s takings are also an improvement on Disney’s first live-action remake of the year, Tim Burton’s Dumbo which opened to $2.75m in second position, and the remake of Aladdin which premiered to $7.59m in May. Aladdin held onto its position in the top 10 in its ninth weekend at the box office, earning $316,832 from 221 screens and amounting to $34m in total earnings.

Marvel’s Spiderman: Far From Home dropped from the top position for the first time since it premiered on July 1, earning $2.49m from 669 screens – a 62% drop from last weekend.

Elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame took $25,561 to add to a running total of $84.2m in the Australian box office. The movie, which is the final film in the current phase of Avengers movies, re-released last month with additional footage, giving it the power it needed to topple Avatar as the highest grossing movie in box office history (unadjusted for inflation). After 13 weeks of release worldwide, the film climbed to a worldwide tally of US$2.79b, narrowly edging above Avatar which sits on US$2.789b. The win comes off the back of the latest round of MCU announcements at San Diego Comic-Con which saw 10 new projects revealed to form phase four of the studio’s plans.

Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 was down 61% from last weekend, taking in $2m from 346 screens and adding to its running total of $37.95m.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 held onto a position in the top five after experiencing the benefits of school holiday traffic last weekend, earning $925,011 and making its total $13.6m. The animation from Universal debuted over the same weekend as Toy Story 4 in June.

Yesterday, the comedy featuring the music of The Beatles, was again pushed down a place in the box office after drawing in $838,826 from 273 screens, a 49% drop from the previous week.

Also opening this weekend in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing was Madman’s documentary Apollo 11. Constructed from a trove of footage and audio recordings from NASA and directed by Todd Douglas Miller, the documentary debuted in sixth position with $413,665 from 110 screens.

Title (Distributor) Weekend B/O Screens Total B/O
The Lion King (2019) (Disney) $20,537,945 930 $24,769,451
Spider-man: Far From Home (Sony) $2,494,316 669 $33,247,119
Toy Story 4 (Disney) $2,001,131 346 $38,422,890
The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (Universal) $925,011 279 $17,581,904
Yesterday (Universal) $838,826 273 $11,199,791
Apollo 11 (Madman) $413,665 110 $542,212
Aladdin (live Action) (Disney) $316,832 221 $34,602,486
Annabelle Comes Home (Wb) $280,050 178 $5,550,920
Crawl (Paramount) $253,490 185 $1,064,170
The White Crow (Universal) $206,060 59 $261,098
Stuber (Fox) $184,810 215 $927,043
Booksmart (Universal) $178,400 216 $854,882
Rocketman (Paramount) $149,386 100 $19,627,562
After (Roadshow) $96,441 141 $2,064,330
Parasite (Madman) $93,119 30 $1,191,129
Mystify Michael Hutchence (Madman) $83,329 55 $893,064
Super 30 (Mindblowing Films) $71,168 24 $323,430
The White Storm 2: Drug Lords (Cmc Pictures) $63,051 14 $270,149
Men In Black: International (Sony) $55,642 63 $9,942,735
Red Joan (Transmission) $54,317 47 $2,384,548

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