Disney’s Lion King Reigns at Box Office… Again!

ON

The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

It’s not often we have big surprises at the box office in September, so to have a movie that’s over seventeen years old being released in 3D–a format that’s gotten a lot of backlash this year–sitting on top of the box office with nearly $29.3 million is pretty huge. Nostalgia was key in The Lion King 3D opening this weekend to such an impressive amount in just 2,330 theaters, where it averaged over $12.5 thousand per site. That opening puts it into the Top 5 for September releases

The original movie opened on June 15, 1994 in limited release and then went wide nine days later for an opening weekend take of nearly $41 million before going on to gross $312 million in its domestic release, an amount that’s been upped to over $350 million with various rereleases including the current one. The Lion King also won two Oscars for its score and one of the original songs by Elton John.

Last week’s #1 movie, Steven Soderbegh’s star-studded thriller Contagion (Warner Bros.) dropped to second place with $14.5 million, down just 35% and bringing its total to $44.2 million.

Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s critically-acclaimed crime thriller Drive (FilmDistrict), starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and Cristina Hendricks, scored $11 million in its opening weekend for third place.

DreamWorks summer sleeper hit The Help dropped to fourth place with $6.4 million but the $147.4 million it’s grossed puts it well into the black for the studio.

Rod Lurie’s remake of Straw Dogs (Screen Gems), starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard, didn’t fare as well as its thriller competition, opening with just $5 million in fifth place. It did better than Sarah Jessica Parker’s latest comedy, I Don’t Know How She Does It (Weinstein Co.), based on the popular book, which only brought in $4.5 million in 2,476 theaters for sixth place.

The period thriller The Debt (Focus Features) took in $2.9 million in its third weekend, bringing its total to $26.5 million, followed by Gavin O’Connor’s MMA movie Warrior (Lionsgate), starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy with $2.8 million and just under $10 million in 10 days.

The Top 10 was rounded out by the 20th Century Fox hit prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes with $2.6 million and $171.6 million total, followed by the Luc Besson-produced Colombiana (TriStar Pictures) with $2.3 million and $33.3 million total after four weeks.

This week’s Top 10 movies grossed an estimated $81.4 million, down 7% from the same weekend last year when Ben Affleck’s The Town topped the box office with $23.8 million.

Opening in limited release in New York and L.A., Gus Van Sant’s Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, only grossed a disappointing $17 thousand its opening weekend in five theaters.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.