The Associated Press reported this week Disney’s musical theatre extravaganza The Lion King has surpassed The Phantom of The Opera to become the highest grossing entertainment product of all time.
Phantom has long been the benchmark for commercial success on a global scale. The longest-running show in Broadway history, Phantom opened on The Great White Way in 1988, two years after its West End premiere. To date the show has grossed $6 billion with productions all over the world. But now The Lion King has surpassed Phantom‘s success with international box office receipts of $6.2 billion after being in theatres eleven fewer years (1997 premiere).
In an age where it seems just about everything is digital and instant, good old-fashioned musical theatre shows are obliterating other forms of entertainment such as cinema (Avatar $2.8 billion) and video games (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, GTAV, Halo 3 etc.).
Broadway’s contribution alone to The Lion King‘s commercial success has been a whopping $1.1 billion in ticket sales. In recent years, I have been under the impression Wicked is the new Phantom due to its unwavering commercial appeal across the globe. But now it is official The Lion King is the new Phantom. In years to come, Wicked may yet topple The Lion King‘s new crown. Only time will tell.