'The Lion King' was slammed by critics, but audiences didn't care

Disney‘The Lion King’ (2019).
  • “The Lion King” broke a July box-office record despite poor reviews from critics.
  • The remake has a 54% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, but an 89% audience score and an A grade on CinemaScore, which tracks opening-night audience sentiment.
  • It has already made over $US530 million worldwide, adding to Disney’s box-office domination this year.
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Movie critics weren’t pleased with Disney’s “The Lion King” remake, but that didn’t stop audiences from seeing and enjoying it.

The movie received a poor 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it “morally bankrupt” and a “cinematic expression of the kind of toxic nostalgia that has infiltrated our national discourse.”

But audiences gave the new “Lion King” an 89% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it received an A grade from CinemaScore, which surveys viewers on a movie’s opening night.

“The Lion King” earned $US185 million in the US over the weekend, the biggest domestic July debut ever (before adjusting for inflation), beating 2011’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.” And it has already grossed over $US530 million worldwide, $US97 million of which has come from China, where it opened a week early.

It’s the latest Disney remake of an animated classic to be a hit with audiences. “Aladdin,” which opened in May, has made close to $US1 billion globally, and 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast” made over $US1 billion. “Aladdin” also had a subpar reception from critics and received a 56% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Lion King” is already the sixth-highest grossing domestic release of 2019, and seventh worldwide. Four of the top five in both categories belong to Disney (“Avengers: Endgame,” “Captain Marvel,” “Aladdin,” and “Toy Story 4”). The company is dominating like no other and keeping the year’s box office afloat nearly single-handedly.

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