Very quietly, almost stealthily, a new king has been inaugurated on Broadway. Box office figures to be released later Monday show that "The Lion King" last week swiped the title of Broadway's all-time highest grossing show from "The Phantom of the Opera," The Associated Press has learned.
The Broadway in New Orleans staging runs at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre through April 15.
The cumulative gross for "The Lion King" is $853,846,062, according to the show's numbers. Its chandelier-swinging rival's cumulative total is $853,122,847, according to musical's publicist. The "Lion King" surged past "Phantom" after netting over $2 million at the box office for the week ending Sunday, while "Phantom" pulled in about $1.2 million.
What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is that "The Lion King" chased down and grabbed the title despite "Phantom" having almost a full 10 years' head start. The Disney show opened in November 1997, while "Phantom" debuted in January 1988. The upstart's victory is due in large part to its higher average ticket prices and a slightly larger theater.