The billionaire’s club has a new member who walks on all fours and sports a handsome mane.
The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that its North America touring productions of “The Lion King” have reached the $1-billion mark in box-office receipts, putting them ahead of the Broadway production, which opened in 1997 and is running at the Minskoff Theatre.
The New York production has grossed a total of $972 million as of Sunday, according to the Broadway League.
Two touring companies of “The Lion King” have crisscrossed the continent during the past decade. The musical has been seen in Southern California a number of times, and is set to return to the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood in the fall, running from Nov. 20 to Jan. 12.
Directed by Julie Taymor, “The Lion King” won the Tony Award for best musical in 1997. The first national tour, nicknamed the “Gazelle” company, launched in 2002 in Denver and continues to run. A second touring production, dubbed the “Cheetah” company, began in 2003 in Chicago and closed in 2008.
Disney said that more than 15 million people have seen its touring productions of “The Lion King.”
The animated movie on which the musical is based was released in 1994. A 3-D version of the movie came out in 2011.