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'Lion King' passes 'Phantom' as highest-grossing Broadway show

April 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
"The Lion King" has achieved the title of the all-time highest grossing Broadway show, replacing "The Phantom of the Opera," according to box-office numbers released Monday.

"Phantom" had almost 10 years' head start: "Phantom" debuted in January 1988, while "Lion King" debuted in November 1997.

"The Lion King" plays in a larger theater, and average ticket prices are higher than the "Phantom" show.

The cumulative gross for "The Lion King" is $853,846,062, according to the show's numbers. Its rival's cumulative total is $853,122,847, according to the musical's publicist. The "Lion King" surged past "Phantom" after netting over $2 million at the box office for the week ending Sunday, while "Phantom" pulled in about $1.2 million.

The Broadway League, a trade group that collects revenue from theater owners, has slightly different numbers, putting the cumulative grosses of "The Lion King" at $854,038,152 and "Phantom" at $853,122,847 as of Monday. The League in 2009 changed the way it calculates grosses, which may explain the discrepancy. None of the figures are adjusted for inflation.

"Phantom," now in its 24th year, is still the longest-running show in Broadway history, with more than 10,000 performances and it has sold many more tickets than its Disney rival on the Great White Way, a staggering 14.8 million so far.

In comparison, "The Lion King" looks like a pup: It is the sixth longest-running show on Broadway with over 5,900 performances over 14 years and has sold just over 10 million tickets.

"The Lion King" may now have won on Broadway, but "Phantom" is still a juggernaut elsewhere. Its producers have even declared it the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film, including "Titanic," "Star Wars" and "Avatar."

The total worldwide grosses for "Phantom" are estimated at over $5.6 billion, while the worldwide haul for "Lion" is $4.8 billion. "Phantom" has also been seen by 130 million people worldwide, while "Lion" puts its number at 64 million. Those gaps may also close: "The Lion King" has seven - soon eight - productions worldwide, while "Phantom" has seven productions around the world: London, New York, Hungary, Japan, South Africa, Las Vegas and a UK tour.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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