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The Lion King Opens to $23 Million at Thursday Previews

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The Walt Disney Studios announced today that The Lion King opened with an impressive $23 million from Thursday evening previews at the domestic box office, where it is released wide in over 4,700 theaters today.

Internationally, the film opens in most major territories this weekend after rolling out in China on July 12 with a powerful $54.1 million debut. Over the last week, that has risen to $76.6 million, and combined with the first two days of play in newly-opened territories, the international gross through July 19 is an estimated $130.5 million.

It was the second biggest industry opening day ever in Brazil and the second biggest opening day for a Walt Disney Studios live-action film in France (in both cases, behind only Avengers: Endgame), and the biggest opening day for a Disney-branded live-action film of all time in Australia and Korea. In Russia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, it was the third biggest opening day of all time. It was the second biggest opening day of the year (also behind only Avengers: Endgame) in several markets, including France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

RELATED: Disney’s The Lion King Review

Director Jon Favreau’s all-new The Lion King journeys to the African savanna where a future king must overcome betrayal and tragedy to assume his rightful place on Pride Rock. The cast includes Donald Glover (Atlanta, Solo: A Star Wars Story) as future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Dreamgirls) as Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Field of Dreams) as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprising his iconic performance from Disney’s 1994 animated classic.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Twelve Years a Slave, Doctor Strange) was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard (Juanita, Marvel’s Luke Cage) portrays Simba’s no-nonsense mother, Sarabi. JD McCrary (Tyler Perry’s The Paynes, Vital Signs) fills the shoes of Young Simba, a confident cub who can’t wait to be king, and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Hairspray Live, Broadway’s “The Lion King”) brings tough cub Young Nala to life.

Every kingdom comes with a trustworthy advisor or two. John Kani (Coriolanus, Captain America: Civil War) plays the wise baboon Rafiki, and John Oliver (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) plays hornbill Zazu, Mufasa’s loyal confidant. When Simba goes into exile, he relies on two newfound friends—Seth Rogen (Sausage Party, Neighbors) lends his comedic chops to naïve warthog Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, American Horror Story) is the know-it-all meerkat Timon.

While most of the animals in the kingdom respect the king, the hyenas have other plans. Florence Kasumba (Emerald City, Black Panther) portrays Shenzi, Eric André (The Eric André Show, Man Seeking Woman) is Azizi, and Keegan-Michael Key (Predator, Friends from College) plays Kamari.

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Mirko Parlevliethttp://VitalThrills.com
Mirko Parlevliet has been reporting on the entertainment industry since 1998 and founded VitalThrills.com to cover movie, TV, video game, music, and theme park news.

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