Over the Easter weekend, a busy one for New York theater, Disney's smash-hit musical The Lion King became Broadway's smashest hit ever, surpassing ancient veteran The Phantom of the Opera.
According to the Associated Press' Mark Kennedy, Julie Taymor's puppet-heavy 1997 extravaganza pulled in $2 million over the weekend, increasing its total Broadway gross to $853,846,062, which is just barely, by a lion's hair, past The Phantom of the Opera's $853,122,847. So, way to go Simba, and Rafiki, and Timon & Pumba and all the rest of you. You now rule New York. (Or at least a very particular part of it.) Plus this is just for Broadway, it doesn't factor in the oodles the show has raked in on national tours and around the world. Basically this has been a steady cash cow, or cash lion har har, for Disney, even though it takes fifteen years to reach that big sum versus the year or so it can take a movie to get there.
Speaking of time, Phantom is still the longest-running Broadway show in history, currently blasting out the music of the night for a 24th year. It's also sold more tickets than anything else, so really it is the most popular show out there. Meaning, don't feel so sad, Phantom. Or, still feel sad, you wouldn't be the Phantom without feeling sad, but don't feel any worse, certainly.