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Elton John Breaks Billion-Dollar Barrier

Elton John and Dr. Evil
Hulton Archives, Getty Images / New Line Cinema

Can you feel the love tonight? Elton John is feeling close to a billion dollars’ worth.

Almost 16 years after ‘The Lion King’ stage musical premiered, featuring songs written by John and Tim Rice for the show as well as the blockbuster animated Disney movie that inspired it, it’s poised to become the first stage musical ever to gross more than $1 billion on Broadway. (In fact, it’s most likely already there — according to the Hollywood Reporter, the show had racked up $997 million as of Oct. 6.)

As THR’s report notes, ‘The Lion King’ isn’t the longest-running show on Broadway, and it isn’t the most expensive, but it’s come by its success the old-fashioned way: by keeping butts in seats. According to the article, the show has consistently played to theaters that are at least 80 percent full — in fact, it’s only fallen below that mark fewer than a dozen times over the course of its more than 6,600 shows. And this latest financial milestone is only for New York; worldwide, ‘The Lion King’ has already grossed more than $5 billion.

As Vintage Vinyl News points out, ‘The Lion King’ sparked a Broadway run for John, who has returned to the stage repeatedly since it debuted in 1997, penning the musicals ‘Aida,’ ‘Lestat’ and another movie adaptation, ‘Billy Elliott.’

Next: Top 10 Elton John Songs

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