Simba isn’t just king of Pride Rock (spoiler alert), he’s also reigning at the box office, with The Lion King enjoying a truly mighty opening weekend.
Indeed, the live action remake has had the biggest opening weekend ever for any Disney remake, leaving films such as Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book cowering under its majestic roar.
The star-studded cast – which boasts Beyoncé herself as Nala – has had cinema goers returning to the Pride Lands in herds, with many left wowed by how utterly gorgeous the film looked.
As reported by Sky News, The Lion King clawed in $185 million (£149 million) from almost 5,000 North American cinemas over the course of its opening weekend.
Worldwide, The Lion King collected $269 million (£215 million) for a global total of $433 million (£346 million).
This is also the second-best US domestic debut of 2019 so far – trailing Avengers: Endgame, which took $357m (£285.5m) in three days. Hakuna Matata indeed.
As reported by Reuters, Disney’s president of global distribution, Cathleen Taff, said:
We have a lot to celebrate, The Lion King has such a resonance in pop culture that you see all different types of people coming out. People wanted to be part of this.
Ik it’s not realistic but I wish this scene was in the live action version of the lion king fndjdnd pic.twitter.com/G6cSx2HIta
— queen quen (@quenblackwell) July 21, 2019
Impressive figures aside, many critics have failed to be charmed by this retold children’s tale of fratricide and monarchical upheaval.
At the time of writing, The Lion King holds a 54 per cent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 300 reviews, certifying it fit only for the elephant’s graveyard.
According to the critics’ consensus:
While it can take pride in its visual achievements, The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved–though for some fans that may just be enough.
my parents and I were salty this wasn’t in the remake of the lion king pic.twitter.com/06dUglSlh2
— zar 💓🤪 (@zennesssy) July 22, 2019
In recent years, there has been much debate amongst cinema fans regarding the necessity of live action remakes.
While many nostalgic types enjoy seeing iconic animated scenes recreated ‘realistically’, others have panned Disney for choosing to rehash guaranteed audience pleasers rather than offering fans new, original stories.
This criticism looms large within various negative reviews, with many critics arguing The Lion King remake has failed to bring any fresh take to a story we have all seen about one hundred times.
As much as I love how cute and cuddly baby Simba looks in the remake, I’m pretty sure this current trend of recycling movies wasn’t what Mufasa had in mind when he waxed philosophical about the circle of life.
You can catch The Lion King in cinemas nationwide now.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.