The Lion King musical could very well be described as a cash cow. Just yesterday (Wednesday, July 10) Disney Theatrical Productions announced that the touring show’s box office gross in North America has reached $1 billion, The Huffington Post reports.

The Lion King Exhibit, New York
The Lion King was dubbed Broadway's highest grossing show in 2012.

The show first premiered in 2002, meaning it took just over a decade for The Lion King to reach the milestone. In comparison, The Phantom of the Opera has taken in over $1.5 billion over its three national tours, however the first of those kicked off back in 1989. This also means that the national touring production has beat out its Broadway competitor, which, as of Sunday, had grossed $972 million in total. Close, but no cigar – it’s the touring production that claims Pride Rock after all. Jack Eldon, a vice president at Disney Theatrical Productions said about the achievement: "We remain overwhelmed by the enduring response to the show and are enormously thankful to our patrons – new and returning – for their continued enthusiasm and support."

Lion King Exhibit, New York City
But now the travelling production has beat out the Broadway one.

The Lion King has seen an impressive critical response as well. The musical won a Tony in 1997 and kicked off its first national tour from Denver with the affectionately dubbed Gazelle company in 2002. The Gazelle company is still performing and, in 2003, the Cheetah company followed in its footsteps, this time from Chicago. The Cheetah company stopped performing in 2008.

The Lion King Exhibit, NYC
The production has been touring almost non stop since its launch in 2002.