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The Lion King Is Officially the Entertainment Industry's Highest-Grossing Work Ever

Disney overtakes ''Phantom'' as the king of Broadway. logo
Aaron Nelson in scene from The Lion King on Broadway.
(© Joan Marcus)

According to a report by the Associated Press, The Lion King stage musical has stolen the Broadway crown from The Phantom of the Opera, becoming the highest-grossing commodity in any media in entertainment history.

Reaching a worldwide gross of $6.2 billion late this summer, The Lion King has more than doubled the record-breaking box office of the $2.8 billion film Avatar and has surpassed its Broadway predecessor Phantom, which sits at a solid $6 billion total. Though Phantom remains the longest-running show in Broadway history, nearing its 17th anniversary, The Lion King (which opened in 1997) has caught up to the masked man while keeping a ceiling on tickets prices.

"We're never going to be the top price," says David Schrader, executive vice president and managing director at Disney Theatrical Group. "We're never going to have the highest VIP price. We're never going to have the highest orchestra price. We're not in this for tomorrow afternoon. We're in it for however many years we've got. We're trying to be moderate."

"It's difficult not to become emotional at this realization of the show's impact," said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions."Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that audiences could feel it in their heart. And, to this day, that is the audience experience whether they see the show in Madrid; Appleton, Wisconsin; South Africa; Tokyo, or Broadway. Of that, we are deeply proud."

For tickets to The Lion King, click here.