While Julie Taymor’s stature on Broadway has diminished after Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, this will make her feel better. Disney’s The Lion King has just roared past The Phantom of the Opera to become Broadway’s all-time top grossing show. The Lion King, which opened November 1997, has done a cumulative gross of $853,846,062 over 753 weeks, while The Phantom of the Opera, which opened January, 1988, and has a cumulative gross of $853,122,062 over 1264 weeks. During the run of The Lion King, 514 shows have come and gone on Broadway and The Lion King usually finishes first or second on the revenue charts ever week, remarkable for a show well past its 14th year. Only five shows have run longer on Broadway: A Chorus Line, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, and all of them were way down from being the top grossing weekly show at this point in their runs. I can remember how involved Disney was in the clean-up of 42nd Street and the campaign to transform that seedy area. With both The Lion King and Mary Poppins packing them in, it has worked out pretty well for everyone but the hookers, pimps, pervs and the drug crowd that had to find other places to peddle their wares.
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