Lion King is Broadway's Highest Grossing Show of All Time

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#1


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Very quietly, almost stealthily, a new king has been inaugurated on Broadway.
Box office figures to be released later Monday show that "The Lion King" last week swiped the title of Broadway's all-time highest grossing show from "The Phantom of the Opera," The Associated Press has learned.

The cumulative gross for "The Lion King" is $853,846,062, according to the show's numbers. Its chandelier-swinging rival's cumulative total is $853,122,847, according to musical's publicist. The "Lion King" surged past "Phantom" after netting over $2 million at the box office for the week ending Sunday, while "Phantom" pulled in about $1.2 million.

What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is that "The Lion King" chased down and grabbed the title despite "Phantom" having almost a full 10 years' head start. The Disney show opened in November 1997, while "Phantom" debuted in January 1988. The upstart's victory is due in large part to its higher average ticket prices and a slightly larger theater.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Cary Ginell, a music historian and biographer who edited the seventh edition of "Broadway Musicals: Show By Show." He compares "The Lion King" to a Disneyland ride.

"It's a spectacle that satisfies on many different sensory elements — audio, visually, emotionally. It's also good for all ages — just like Disneyland is. For the kids, it's the visual elements — the colors, the costumes and the puppetry. For the adults, it's 'Hamlet,' basically. And the music is not geared to one age or gender or race. It's as universal a show can get."
Good job, America.

Hey, we're going on a trip to NYC. Let's experience some theater! How about we check out that children's cartoon we own and have seen 30 times.
 

Divvy

Canadians burned my passport
#2
Good job, America.

Hey, we're going on a trip to NYC. Let's experience some theater! How about we check out that children's cartoon we own and have seen 30 times.
No one goes to see a musical for plot. It's all about the music/costumes/general extravaganza. All of which The Lion King excells at. It's not like people are dancing around with costumes straight out of the movie.
 

Dan

No longer boycotting the Wolfenstein franchise
#4
No one goes to see a musical for plot. It's all about the music/costumes/general extravaganza. All of which The Lion King excells at. It's not like people are dancing around with costumes straight out of the movie.
Yup, and as the guy in the article explains, The Lion King excels at the spectacle. It satisfies all ages, isn't reliant on name talent, etc.

Besides, at least it's a damned good show. It's not like some mediocre piece of shit is at the top.
 
#5
Good job, America.

Hey, we're going on a trip to NYC. Let's experience some theater! How about we check out that children's cartoon we own and have seen 30 times.
Do you live in Brooklyn and ride a fixie or something?

I guess we should see such original productions as Mary Poppins, Sister Act, Jersey Boys, or Ghost instead.
 

RubxQub

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#6
It's hilarious when the show uses shadow puppets for parts of the story telling. It's like they have cardboard cutouts of characters that move all jankily during transitions.

Great great show, though. Have seen it twice. That opening will make you cry like a baby every damn time.
 
#11
Well deserved! It truly is a fantastic show and a great introduction to musical theatre for those who haven't experienced any before. Taymor being one trippy creator actually MADE this production what it is today.
 
#12
I'd like to see The Lion King some day but this is still a bit disheartening. I've seen the Phantom's traveling show and it's fantastic...definitely my all time favorite musical. I became a big fan back in middle school when we were taught it in theatre class we had to take.

I can still remember many of the words when I hear a song come on.

*queues up the Original Cast Recording of Phantom on rdio*
 
#13
It really is a great show. The costumers are awesome. The set is very cool.

There are other shows that I'd prefer to see, but, for families, it's a perfect theater experience.
 

Valhelm

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#18
It's certainly a great show. Unfortunately, despite being a major Broadway fan, I've only gotten the chance to see it on tour.
 
#23
Most of these other adapted stage plays do seem like lazy cash grabs (Sister Act, Shrek, Hairspray) but The Lion King is actually a really quality show.
That's because Broadway musicals cost so much to mount that producers basically refuse to try anything that doesn't have a built in audience from a movie (usually) or a book. Book of Mormon is an exception, but that still has the South Park guys behind it, so it had a leg up in that regard.
 
#24
That's because Broadway musicals cost so much to mount that producers basically refuse to try anything that doesn't have a built in audience from a movie (usually) or a book. Book of Mormon is an exception, but that still has the South Park guys behind it, so it had a leg up in that regard.
Its always been like that. Why do you think Rodgers and Hammerstein got so many plays? Or Gilbert and Sullivan? And currently Andrew Lloyd Webber?

They were (or in Webber's case, are) well known, safe bets. Its not like there was a history of people investing large amounts of money on no name writers and material.
 

Divvy

Canadians burned my passport
#26
I wonder what the other top grossing shows are.


That's because Broadway musicals cost so much to mount that producers basically refuse to try anything that doesn't have a built in audience from a movie (usually) or a book. Book of Mormon is an exception, but that still has the South Park guys behind it, so it had a leg up in that regard.
Book of Mormon also has the pedigree of the Avenue Q team. Love that musical.
 
#28
Its always been like that. Why do you think Rodgers and Hammerstein got so many plays? Or Gilbert and Sullivan? And currently Andrew Lloyd Webber?

They were (or in Webber's case, are) well known, safe bets. Its not like there was a history of people investing large amounts of money on no name writers and material.
Of course others have used previous sources for a leaping off point, the point I was trying to make (badly, I guess) is that the movies being used these days are lowest common denominator stuff that has been seen by the largest number of people. For example, Oklahoma! was based on a play performed 64 times on Broadway. Hardly the same as Legally Blonde or Ghost, or Shrek.
 
#31
Of course others have used previous sources for a leaping off point, the point I was trying to make (badly, I guess) is that the movies being used these days are lowest common denominator stuff that has been seen by the largest number of people. For example, Oklahoma! was based on a play performed 64 times on Broadway. Hardly the same as Legally Blonde or Ghost, or Shrek.
Yeah I know, I was just pointing out that you still went with safe bets back then, just that what makes a safe bet is much different now then 50 to 100 years ago.

Those composers were safe bets, now you go with adapted material, or people that are famous in some other field, like South Park or Elton John.
 
#32
Saw it in Toronto a good 12 years ago. I know I liked it, but it's been so long I have a hard time remembering why. Probably should check it out again.
 
#35
Reading this made me realize I've only seen 1 musical in my life and that was over 16 years ago. I went to see The Who's Tommy with a small bunch of students and 1 teacher on a after school trip. I remember enjoying it yet I can barely recall anything much about it, which also makes me feel old :(
 
#36
I wonder what the other top grossing shows are.
Broadway Grosses by Show from since they started to report them. Not adjusted by inflation.

I've only seen Wicked. wish i had the $$$ to see more plays :(
Do you live in NYC? There are some online discount ticket clubs, occasional discount codes, the TKTS booth, and most shows have some kind of general rush/student rush/lottery/standing room. The Lion King never discounts, but they are other great shows.

If you're outside NYC, check your local theatre's website, but they probably offer some sort of rush (last minute ticket) discount. And Groupon and stuff like that might have deals, too.
 
#38
I don't think Lawblob is coming back. lol
The reality is I don't really care. I know Lion King is supposed to be a really well done show. Only Broadway Show i've seen since moving here is Book of Mormon. I just knew that for a story like this, only way people would pay attention is with a snarky OP.
 
#40
Fantastic show I saw it in london but Phantom is my favourite of all time seen that twice in london and once on broadway and can listen to the songs endlessly, the anger in the phantom seals it for me. I also loved butler as the phantom in the film of it.
 
#41
Okay yeah that is a really predictable list. Though I kind of expected Rock of Ages to have brought in more money. Also man did I hate Cats.
Yeah, it's in a small house (~4,200) with a pretty modest average ticket price, and after a while they were filling up to about 70% capacity (they've been packing the house lately, though).

And I don't think anybody liked Cats after it's first year, but it became this huge attraction for tourist (like The Lion King, Phantom, and Chicago are now). It brought the spectacle, and gave tons of Broadway dancers and singers jobs, so I can't hate on it too much.
 
#47


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Good job, America.

Hey, we're going on a trip to NYC. Let's experience some theater! How about we check out that children's cartoon we own and have seen 30 times.
I've seen several broadway shows, and I think the Lion King was fantastic. Much better than shit like Cats (which like most shows was not original -- is being based on a book somehow better than being based on a movie?)
 
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