Weekend Box-Office: September 23-25, 2011

The Lion is still the King, baby...

Despite 4 new "big ticket" movies hitting theaters this past weekend, it was those crazy 3D animated Disney lions that managed to hang on to the #1 spot for the second weekend in a row, as THE LION KING re-release has now generated $62M during the first 10 days of release. Originally, Disney had announced it as a LIMITED 2-week release, but needless to say, now that they're bringing in the big cheese ($$$), they've decided to "extend" the release a little further. Not sure for how much longer, but it's to note that the film will be getting its "Diamond Edition" Blu-Ray release on October 4th.

THE LION KING's great success aside, it's interesting to see how the 4 other new releases fared during their 1st week in the marketplace. Unfortunately for fans of action films, the Statham-Owen-DeNiro combo, THE KILLER ELITE, performed the worst of the bunch with a 5th place finish and only $10M in receipts. On the "good news" side for action flicks, Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner's attempt at piercing that genre with ABDUCTION, also didn't perform too well, as it generated only $11M and a 4th place showing. The film wasn't screened to critics in advance, and ultimately ended up with only 3% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. What happened to director John Singleton? From BOYZ IN THE HOOD to this dreck? Yeesh!

And from the company that brought you the "feel good" BLIND SIDE back in 2009, DOLPHIN TALE performed quite well in its first weekend of release, falling only half a million dollars below MONEYBALL in 3rd place, although that might change once the "actual figures" are reported on Monday (remember that Sunday figures are just "estimates" for now). Finally, it was Brad Pitt's MONEYBALL that gave THE LION KING the most competition, as it finished only $1.5M below the Disney classic in 2nd place. Out of the 4 new releases, KILLER ELITE cost the most to make at $70M, followed by MONEYBALL with a $50M budget, and then DOLPHIN TALE and ABDUCTION at approximately $35M each.

As 4 new films were introduced to the box-office charts, 4 others dropped out of the top 10 including THE DEBT ($29M), RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES ($174M), WARRIOR ($12M) and COLOMBIANA ($35M). It's sad to see how few dollars WARRIOR generated, despite its superior reviews. A similar refrain can be uttered for DRIVE, which dropped to 7th place in its second weekend of release, as it lost 50% of its audience from last weekend. Thankfully for both films, their budgets were only $25M for WARRIOR and $15M for DRIVE. On the "really great news" front, the Sarah Jessica Parker-starring I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT dropped to 10th place in only its second week of release. The film has only made $8M in two weeks.

Next weekend sees the release of 4 more new movies vying for the top spot including the "newly married couple du jour" Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz starring in the thriller DREAM HOUSE, Anna Faris giving the "hot bimbo funny blonde" character another shot in WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER co-starring Captain America, as well as an inspirational movie called COURAGEOUS and let's not forget...our pick of the week entitled 50/50, a dramedy based loosely on the real life cancer diagnosis of one of Seth Rogen's good buddies (who ended up writing the screenplay) Our man Chris Bumbray caught it at the Toronto Film Festival and raved all about it HERE. So which film do you think will finish in the #1 spot next weekend? VOTE HERE!!!

1. The Lion King $22.1 M $61.7 M
2. Moneyball $20.6 M
3. Dolphin Tale $20.3 M
4. Abduction $11.2 M
5. Killer Elite $9.5 M
6. Contagion $8.6 M $57.1 M
7. Drive $5.8 M $21.4 M
8. The Help $4.4 M $154.4 M
9. Straw Dogs $2.1 M $8.9 M
10. I Don't Know How She Does It $2.1 M $8 M




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