Weekend Box-Office: September 16-18, 2011

Hakuna Matata, bitches!

The original release of THE LION KING back in 1994, broke all sorts of records (it was actually the highest worldwide grossing movie of that year, beating out FORREST GUMP) and the most recent 3D re-release of the film got right back on that horse, topping the charts at #1 this weekend with close to $30M in box-office receipts. The 1994 release opened with $41M at that time. Domestically, it still remains the 3rd-highest grossing animated film of all-time ($357M) behind SHREK 2 ($441M) and TOY STORY 3 ($415M).

That said, the original film was released in June of 1994 and stuck around in the top 10 for the rest of the year (26 weeks in all), maintaining its presence until Christmas time. Nobody believes this re-release will do as well, but the big gross certainly surprised a lot of people this weekend, especially the folks at Disney who had anticipated a $10-12M opening. It's to note that even though there were 2D versions of the film released this past weekend, 92% of the people who saw the film went to check it out in 3D.

Last week's #1 movie, CONTAGION, dropped to 2nd place this weekend, but didn't lose much of its audience from last weekend (only 35%). The film has grossed $44M in the first 10 days of its release. The other 3 new releases didn't fare as well, with Ryan Gosling's extremely well-reviewed DRIVE opening with the most dollars in 3rd place and $11M. The film is rated at 92% positive on Rotten Tomatoes and has an average rating of 9.6/10 (!!!) on the MFC after 8 reviews. Sounds like people like it... :)

The other 2 new releases didn't do much with STRAW DOGS opening in 5th place with only $5M, while Sarah Jessica Parker and her gang of friends managed only a 6th place opening with I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT. The 4 films to get knocked out of the top 10 in order to make room for the latest releases included SHARK NIGHT 3D ($17M), SPY KIDS 4 ($36M), OUR IDIOT BROTHER ($24M) and APOLLO 18 ($24M).

Next week sees the release of a ton of new films including limited releases of the Gerard Butler-starring MACHINE GUN PREACHER and the Chris Evans-starring PUNCTURE. The tweens also get to check out Taylor Lautner in something other than the TWILIGHT films as he stars in the thriller ABDUCTION, while adults get to check out Brad Pitt, co-starring with the pre-thin Jonah Hill, in MONEYBALL.

There's also a true story about a dolphin with a prosthetic tail entitled DOLPHIN TALE (sigh), as well as our pick of the week entitled KILLER ELITE starring Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen. It's to note that our very own Chris Bumbray has already seen 3 of these films and here's where you can read his full reviews: MONEYBALL (8/10), MACHINE GUN PREACHER (6/10) and KILLER ELITE (8/10). So which film do you think will finish in the #1 spot next weekend? VOTE HERE!!!

1. The Lion King $29.3 M
2. Contagion $14.5 M $44.2 M
3. Drive $11 M
4. The Help $6.4 M $147.4 M
5. Straw Dogs $5 M
6. I Don't Know How She Does It $4.5 M
7. The Debt $2.9 M $26.5 M
8. Warrior $2.8 M $9.9 M
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes $2.6 M $171.6 M
10. Colombiana $2.3 M $33.3 M




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