‘Lion King’ May Open in China a Week Before the U.S.

Deadline.com is reporting that Disney’s much-anticipated The Lion King may debut in China on July 12, a week before the pic opens in the U.S. The Jon Favreau-helmed CG-animated remake is expected to be one of this summer’s biggest. However what is interesting about this release is that it will arrive in the Middle Kingdom in the middle of what is known as a blackout period.

In Favreau’s movie, Simba (voiced by Donald Glover) idolizes his father, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Mufasa’s brother — and former heir to the throne — has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. The voice cast also stars Beyoncé Knowles-Carter as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, John Oliver, Florence Kasumba, Eric André, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary and Shahadi Wright Joseph.

The Lion King is expected to make up for the lack of any big Chinese dramatic offerings at the box office. Local box office has been down 5% from 2018, and per the report, authorities traditionally seek to maintain double-digit year-on-year growth.

Directed by animation veterans Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, the original 2D animated Lion King was released in 1994 and is one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time with a lifetime box office of $968.8 million.

Recently, the local government in China also gave an early April 24 release date to Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame (two days before domestic), while Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home got a June 28 opening day, ahead of its July 2nd U.S. opening.