‘Lion King’ defies critics as Beyoncé helps boost box office

A snippet of ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from the upcoming movie ‘The Lion King’ was unveiled on YouTube. (AFPrelaxnews pic)

NEW YORK: The star power of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter and Donald Glover in Walt Disney Co.’s remake of “The Lion King” has overshadowed lukewarm reviews from critics.

New and old fans of the classic contributed to the film’s US$185 million opening weekend debut, which bode well for theatre stocks as box office sentiment has improved.

Revenue from movie ticket receipts is now up 9% quarter to date, MKM Partners’ Eric Handler said, as a robust start for the Disney production has “put the box office back in positive territory.” Shares in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. rose as much as 3.2% in early trading Monday.

The outlook for July and the third quarter is back on track as a strong carryover for the film is expected to “hold up well in the coming weeks,” Handler told clients in a note. Theatre stocks are poised to benefit given the positive results, which “has helped ease some concerns” about box office performance looking ahead.

According to Handler, “a strong July is important for [the third quarter] as it typically accounts for 40% to 45% of the quarter’s revenue.” A decent opening for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” should also help July finish in double-digit territory, he said.