’The Lion King’ marquee is displayed at The Minskoff Theatre in New York.
'The Lion King' marquee is displayed at The Minskoff Theatre in New York. (AP)

NEW YORK -- It's a mainstay on Broadway and now "The Lion King" has proved it's a king on the road, too.

Disney Theatrical Productions said Wednesday that the show's total touring box office gross in North America has reached $1 billion.

Producers estimate that more than 15 million theatergoers in over 70 cities across North America have seen the show since 2002.

Says Jack Eldon, a vice president at Disney Theatrical Productions:

"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."

It reached its milestone quickly. Three national tours of "The Phantom of the Opera" have grossed over $1.5 billion in combined box office sales but the first kicked off in 1989.