This is what entertainment journalism is, in 2019: watching Disney score an unending series of victories over itself as the film industry grows smaller and smaller.
The latest victory is The Lion King, which, as Cinema Blend reports, with a worldwide gross of over $1.3 billion, has now beaten Frozen as the (not adjusted for inflation) highest earning animated film release of all time. Which is a high accolade for a lacklustre remake of a great film whose large, distinguishing point is being animated in such a way that it is nearly indistinguishable from reality, except for, y’know, all the talking animals.
Now that Disney owns Fox and Lucasfilm, controlling basically all the largest film franchises around, this is what things are going to be like, until Disney gets broken up by the government or a massive paradigm shift makes their power irrelevant. Disney vs. Disney vs. Disney. Disney all the way down, controlling box office profits with an endless deluge of massive films that other studios just don’t have the resources or cultural cache to match.
For what it’s worth, The Lion King’s significant success is due in large part to the worldwide box office, where the film made almost twice as much as it did domestically, proving that Disney’s remakes, even when they don’t make a huge dent in American culture, are at least somewhat compelling to non-American markets.
And in case you’re curious, the top-five highest grossing films are rounded out by Incredibles 2, Minions, and Toy Story 3. It’s weird that, in that list, Minions feels like a breath of fresh air.