Weekend Box Office: Lion King Roars Again

By Scott Gwin 2011-09-25 17:36:19discussion comments
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Weekend Box Office: Lion King Roars Again image
Taylor Lautner was vaulted to the top of the fame pyramid along with his Twilight Series co-stars, but the big question of whether or not he could stand on his own two feet as a box office draw was answered this weekend.

In a word: nope.

Critics have unanimously panned Lautner headlined Abduction as the cinematic equivalent of sleeping gas. The good news for Lautner is that no one seems to be blaming him. The bad news is that Lautner's presence isn't good enough to get anything more than an $11 million opening weekend in a distant fourth place.

Compare that with the likes of Zac Efron who, fresh off his High School Musical success, at least managed a $23 million opening for 17 Again, before he began slipping into obscurity. It leaves Lautner and his famous abs with very little room for error as he walks the thin line between becoming the next big action thriller star and the next big teen actor signing up for auditions on movies of the week at the Lifetime network.

Brad Pitt's newest feel good sports drama made a quiet but not altogether disappointing debut. After surging into first place on Friday Moneyball slipped back behind The Lion King which roared to life Saturday to top the box office food chain this weekend. Moneyball opened in second place with $20 million while the re-release of Lion King held fast to number one with $22 million.

The question now is what Disney is going to do with such a successful re-release. Thanks to this additional influx of ticket sales The Lion King's overall domestic gross (which includes all of its releases to date) has climbed to $390 million, moving it up the all time chart from below 20th place to 12th place, overtaking the likes of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Star Wars: Episode III. If the movie can top $403 million that will push it into the top ten, a notable achievement.

But that's unlikely to happen unless Disney extends the film's re-release past the previously announced two week engagement. No word yet on if such an extension is in the works, but given the lack of anything interesting on next weekend's new release radar, it's not inconceivable The Lion King could take a third weekend at number one.

Other new releases this weekend included family feel-good flick Dolphin Tale which just eeked out third place behind Moneyball and obscure action flick Killer Elite, a movie facing dour prospects given its fifth place $9 million debut up against its $70 million budget.

For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below:

1.
The Lion King (in 3D) $22,130,000 Total: $61,676,000 LW: 1     WR: 2    
THTRS: 2,330
2.
Moneyball * $20,600,000 Total: $20,600,000 LW: N     WR: 1    
THTRS: 2,993
3.
Dolphin Tale * $20,260,000 Total: $20,260,000 LW: N     WR: 1    
THTRS: 3,507
4.
Abduction * $11,200,000 Total: $11,200,000 LW: N     WR: 1    
THTRS: 3,118
5.
Killer Elite * $9,500,000 Total: $9,500,000 LW: N     WR: 1    
THTRS: 2,986
6.
Contagion $8,565,000 Total: $57,122,000 LW: 2     WR: 3    
THTRS: 3,136
7.
Drive (2011) $5,771,000 Total: $21,425,000 LW: 3     WR: 2    
THTRS: 2,904
8.
The Help $4,400,000 Total: $154,444,000 LW: 4     WR: 7    
THTRS: 2,695
9.
Straw Dogs (2011) $2,100,000 Total: $8,884,000 LW: 5     WR: 2    
THTRS: 2,408
10.
I Don't Know How She Does It $2,053,000 Total: $8,019,000 LW: 6     WR: 2    
THTRS: 2,490

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