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‘Lion King’ Extends Its Dynasty Another Week

Simba once again lead his pride to victory at the box office, narrowly beating out two strong debuts from Moneyball and Dolphin Tale while two new action releases, Abduction and Killer Elite, saw wimpy debuts in fourth and fifth.

Proving still to be a popular choice amongst families and other nostalgia seekers, The Lion King re-release dipped by just over a quarter, retreating 26.6 percent to an estimated $22.1 million, upping its two-week total to a stellar $61.7 million. As a result, the Disney classic roared to number 12 on the all time domestic chart with a lifetime tally of $390.2 million. If the animation giant opts to expand the movie’s run beyond the two-week limited engagement that was originally planned, it will easily clear the century mark over the coming weeks and the $400 million domestic milestone.

Proving that the sport doesn’t matter when you have great reviews, awards buzz and star power to add to the mix, Moneyball saw the best opening ever for a baseball flick stealing away with $20.6 million and the best per-theater average among the openers. Brad Pitt movies rarely open below $20 million and this was no exception. Be ready for strong legs into the fall awards season.


The Top Ten

1. The Lion King (in 3D) - $22.1M (weekend)…$61.7 (gross)
2. Moneyball - $20.6M…$20.6M
3. Dolphin Tale - $20.3M…$20.3M
4. Abduction - $11.2M…$11.2M
5. Killer Elite - $9.5M…$9.5M
6. Contagion - $8.6M…$57.1M
7. Drive - $5.7M…$21.4M
8. The Help - $4.4M…$154.4M
9. Straw Dogs - $2.1M…$8.9M
10. I Don’t Know How She Does It - $2.0M…$8.0M

What could be a reversal of fortunes for the owner of the Oakland Athletics when final weekend grosses are scored, Warner Bros. inspiration family film Dolphin Tale swam into third with a stellar $20.3 million, showing that families are willing to pay for more than one kidpic over a few close weekends if the product is strong. The story of a young boy and the injured dolphin he rescues received an extraordinary A+ CinemaScore, indicating that like Moneyball, a sizeable final tally could result.

Fourth place belonged to the first solo foray into action for “Twilight” heartthrob Taylor Lautner with Abduction. Though out grossing co-star Robert Pattinson’s side-project Remember Me last year, the chase thriller brought in only $11.2 million from over 3,100 theaters.

Despite boasting the action star trio of Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, the debut film from Open Road Films, Killer Elite, collected only $9.5 million, well below the $11-million average that Statham normally brings in on his own. Budgeted at around $70 million (obscene for what it is) these killers will likely see rocky roads ahead.

Finally after weeks of slumping grosses, the top ten movies combined for an improvement for the weekend against the last two years, totalling over $100 million.

Next week, four more titles will pour into crowded multiplexes, lead by the Anna Farris-headlined romantic comedy What’s Your Number? which dials up a 3,000-plus theater debut. Daniel Craig will again test his leading man potential outside of his 007 tux in Dream House, which aims to serve an unsatisfied horror movie fans in 2,600-plus houses.

Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt team up in the so-far-acclaimed cancer comedy 50/50, which attacks 2,400 and finally the Christian cop-drama Courageous from Alex Kendrick (who had a sleeper hit with 2008’s Fireproof) serves and protects 1,100 screens. Place your bet in the comment section of the Box Office Wizard article this Friday right here on Player Affinity.


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