The Lion King Takes Phantom's Throne as Highest-Grossing Broadway Musical

News   The Lion King Takes Phantom's Throne as Highest-Grossing Broadway Musical The Lion King, which is now approaching its 15th year on Broadway, has surpassed The Phantom of the Opera as the highest-grossing Broadway show in history. The Associated Press first reported the news, and Disney confirmed the accuracy of the story.

Current Simba, Adam Jacobs
Current Simba, Adam Jacobs Photo by Joan Marcus

The Lion King now reigns the Broadway jungle with a $853,846,062 cumulative gross, while Phantom comes in just below it at $853,122,847.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running hit musical The Phantom of the Opera opened January 1988 at the Majestic Theatre, where it continues to earn strong Broadway box office figures on a weekly basis as it approaches its 25th anniversary next year. Visit the Playbill Vault to page for The Phantom of the Opera.

The Lion King's achievement, according to the AP, is based on the Minskoff Theatre's larger seating capacity (1,677 compared to the 1,605-set Majestic) and higher top ticket prices. The Disney musical first opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre, which seats 1,801. Click here to visit the Playbill Vault page for The Lion King.

This past week The Lion King grossed $2,081,189 with an average admission price of $155.09, while Phantom pulled in $1,262,881, with a $98.97 average ticket price. Neither production shows signs of stopping.

Despite The Lion King taking Broadway's box office crown at a younger age, Phantom still leads in performance count — over 10,000 on Broadway so far. The musical has also raked in over $5.6 billion internationally. Lion King, which is the sixth-longest running Broadway show, trails with a $4.8 billion dollar international gross. "Naturally we're humbled by this milestone, a feat that can be explained in two words: Julie Taymor," Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a statement. "Her vision, continued commitment to the show and uncommon artistry account for this extraordinary success. We also salute Andrew Lloyd Webber and our Mary Poppins partner Cameron Mackintosh on Phantom of the Opera, a global phenomenon of historic proportions. Above all, 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."

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