With a total of US$6.2bil in earnings, the stage version of Disney’s much-loved movie is the world’s best-selling show – in any form.

The stage musical of The Lion King has generated the highest total box office of any production in any entertainment medium, with worldwide takings of more than US$6.2bil (RM20.1bil), a spokesman for Walt Disney Co says on Sept 22.

The musical, which has been running on Broadway since 1997 and subsequently staged around the world, has exceeded the takings of the animated film of the same name, which are almost US$1bil. “It is the highest-grossing total in box office history,” says the spokesman.

“The US$6.2bil figure is just the box office of the stage musical.” The spokesman adds that the show reached the new record during the summer. Previously, The Phantom Of The Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber was the highest-earning entertainment entity, with earnings of more than US$5.6bil.

The Lion King, based on the 1994 animated Disney film of the same name, follows the journey of Simba, a young lion born into animal royalty. When Simba is ousted into the wild by his evil uncle, he overcomes adversity with the help of his jungle friends to reclaim his crown as king of African wildlife.

Directed by Julie Taymor, the musical features songs by Elton John and lyrics from Tim Rice. “It’s difficult not to become emotional at this realisation of the show’s impact,” says Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions.

The total makes The Lion King more valuable than any single Harry Potter film, the blockbuster Titanic or any of the Star Wars movies. In comparison, the highest-grossing film in history is Avatar with nearly US$2.8bil takings worldwide, according to Disney. – Reuters