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The musical adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King, which debuted on Broadway in 1997, is officially the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time, surpassing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
The Associated Press reports that the show’s publicity announced Monday that The Lion King has now grossed $853,846,062, beating the $853,122,847 total for Phantom. The Lion King finally passed Phantom after a surprisingly successful week leading up to Sunday, during which it made $2 million. Phantom made just $1.2 million this past week.
Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a statement that they are “humbled by this milestone,” according to Reuters. He added that, “This accomplishment belongs to our audiences, millions of whom are experiencing their first Broadway show at The Lion King. Surely, introducing so many to the splendor of live theatre is our show's greatest legacy.”
The Lion King is based on the Oscar-winning 1994 animated film and features songs by Elton John and Tim Rice. Julie Taymor directed the show, which has been on Broadway since it opened in November 1997. It has also toured the US and internationally, especially in the UK. The Telegraph reports that the show had the highest annual gross in West End history just last year.
Phantom, which is almost ten years older than The Lion King, opened in January 1988. It is still the longest-running show in Broadway history and has grossed $5.6 billion worldwide, compared to the $4.8 billion made by The Lion King.