In the jungle, the mighty jungle, there may not be room for two “Lion Kings.”
This past week, for the 6th week in a row, “The Lion King” on Broadway had a severe box office drop. This was one was pretty steep– down $358K from the prior week. It was the first time since March that “The Lion King,” a Broadway box office bellwether, fell below $2 million. The total was $1.6 million.
A drop for “The Lion King” of this magnitude usually only comes after a spike caused by holidays and vacations. Everything was going along smoothly until July 19th. That’s when Disney opened the new “Lion King” movie with “real” animals. The move and the Broadway show couldn’t be farther apart in tone, style, or presentation. But the movie’s ticket is $10 compared with the musical’s $150.
It’s all about the brand. Once “The Lion King” movie kicked in, the musical began to suffer a decline in receipts. For the week ending July 27th, the musical did $2.7 million at the box office. Since then, compared to this past week, the musical is down by $1 million a week. The movie opened on July 19th. Since then it’s made $530 million in the US alone, and $1.6 BILLION totally around the world.
All of Broadway is hurting right now. The total box office this past week was just $25 million, down by $10 million from the spring. Many shows have closed, but that’s not the issue. It’s the individual shows’ box offices that are down. “Book of Mormon,” slowly sinking, fell below its $1 million average last week for the first time since March. “Wicked,” another bellwether, is also down. Even “Hamilton” is showing signs of vulnerability. Recession? The first thing people cut is entertainment.