'The Lion King' makes a roaring R24.5m at the local box office

Young Simba voiced by JD McCrary in 'The Lion King.' (Disney)
Young Simba voiced by JD McCrary in 'The Lion King.' (Disney)

Cape Town - This past weekend, cinemagoers across the country flocked to welcome back to the big screen iconic characters they have long treasured, and delivered Disney’s The Lion King to the top of the box office.

With over 274 000 attendances, the film roared to life as it took in R24.5m over the weekend, making this the biggest July and the third biggest opening weekend of all-time at the South African Box Office, only behind Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War.

Opening day, Friday 19 July saw The Lion King take in over R6.4 million, which is the biggest opening day July has ever seen in South Africa. Saturday’s R9.8 million is the second biggest box office day ever, only behind Avengers: Endgame’s opening Saturday (27 April 2019). This weekend is also the biggest opening for a Disney-branded film.

Elsewhere on the African continent, The Lion King opened at number one in both East and West Africa, also with the biggest July opening day and the all-time biggest opening weekend in July ever. In East Africa, it opened with over kes 16.2 million (the fourth biggest opening weekend), and in West Africa, the tally was over N74.5 million (the fifth-biggest opening weekend).

Directed by Jon Favreau the film journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own.

The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.