Disney Takes Another Trip to Africa With A New Princess Movie

By Colette Jones

  • The debut movie for African Princess Sadé will be a live-action film
  • Lion King is the highest-grossing entertainment property in history at $8.1B

Disney (DIS +1.62%) is going back to Africa as it tries to emulate the success of movies based on the continent like Black Panther and The Lion King. The company announced it’s in the process of developing an African princess named Sadé to add to the franchise. Can Disney make the same type of profit with its first African princess storyline?

Why This Matters: The debut movie for Sadé will be a live-action film, rather than the traditional animated approach. It will be centered around a princess who uses her newly discovered powers to protect her people after an evil force arises in her kingdom, according to Variety. She will become the second black Disney princess, following Tiana from The Princess and the Frog (2009), which brought in $267 million worldwide.

Just how lucrative have Africa based stories been for Disney?  Forbes reported The Lion King is the highest-grossing entertainment property in history at $8.1 billion. Walt Disney Studios stated the Broadway production of the movie is one of six musicals in history to run for more than 10 years. This phenomenon is on it’s 21st year, after making its Broadway debut in 1997.

Disney reported their second fiscal quarter earnings had jumped by $1.2 billion compared to the previous year. This followed the release of Black Panther which pushed revenue to over $14 billion. The monumental success of this Marvel movie grossed $1.35 billion worldwide and became the third-highest domestic performer of all time at $700 million.

After learning about the second quarter results, Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “[this] makes a very loud statement about the virtues of risk taking and the value of inclusion.”

What’s Next: After the 2017 live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast which grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide Disney announced they are ready to come out with a live-action movie for The Lion King as well. It is set to come out in July 2019, starring celebrities such as Beyoncé, Donald Glover and Alfre Woodard. Keep your eye out for reboots and new storylines coming from Disney.

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