//BOX OFFICE: ‘Lion King 3D’ Circles Some Life Into the Box Office

BOX OFFICE: ‘Lion King 3D’ Circles Some Life Into the Box Office

After last weekend’s lowest performing Box Office of the entire year, it took a re-release of a 90s movie to bring back some life. None of the other three new releases this year were able to compete with Lion King 3D or even last week’s winner Contagion. Even limited releases like Gus Van Sant’s Restless had small per theatre averages and did not perform like many had hoped. Studios are no doubt missing Summer already (or if you’re Summit, waiting for Breaking Dawn).

Box Office Estimates
September 16-18, 2011

1) The Lion King 3D (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $29.3 million

I find the success of this film to be something of a paradox. For one it indicates that audiences are uninterested in today’s new releases and have nostalgic appreciation for the great Disney movie musicals of the 1990s. On the other hand it also shows that audiences are willing to go along with the money-grubbing ploy by studios of re-releasing classic movies in 3D. (I’m sure the 3D looked fine, but to me this is not much different than George Lucas editing the original Star Wars movies).

2) Contagion (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $14.48 million

The horror aspects of this movie will be appealing as we are near October and the star-studded cast will continue to bring audiences in. It should have it’s $60 million budget earned back by next weekend and with only a 35% drop this weekend it could be in for a few strong weeks.

3) Drive (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $11.02 million

One of the most critically acclaimed films of the year finally hit theatres this weekend and brought the die-hards out to the cinema. I suspect that this movie will have strong legs that keep it in the top 5 for at least another two weeks or so.

4) The Help (6th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $6.44 million

Six weekends in the top ten is very impressive for any movie. I suspect that the combination of Moneyball and Abduction (and maybe Killer Elite) will knock it out of the top five next week, but The Help is definitely not done with its money making run.

5) Straw Dogs (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $5 million

There didn’t seem to be as much marketing behind this film as there was for Drive, but I’m still somewhat surprised that it performed as poorly as it did. I hope this proves that reviews do matter and a strong critical reception will help a movie’s opening weekend performance after all.

6) I Don’t Know How She Does It (Opening)
ESTIMATE: $4.5 million

I know how she does it – by marketing herself as a completely generic female comedy and delivering on that marketing promise.

7) The Debt (3rd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.95 million

This movie opened alongside Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D and it’s the only film among them that has managed any kind of decent return. It probably has at least one more week in the top ten.

8) Warrior (2nd Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.77 million

I am really surprised by how poorly this film has performed considering how ecstatic the audience reactions were at early screenings. I personally enjoyed the film a lot more than Contagion, although I admit it is flawed. It deserves better than not even earning $5 million in its 2nd weekend.

9) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (7th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.63 million

This is the only movie that has been in the top ten for longer than The Help, and that seems like it will change next week. However, next week it will also pass Captain America to become the 8th highest grossing movie of 2011 (7th highest of the Summer).

10) Colombiana (4th Weekend)
ESTIMATE: $2.3 million

This seems like the type of movie that is going to play on cable a lot in a couple years. I think I’ll try and catch it then.

Estimates are courtesy of Box Office Mojo. Look for Moneyball to take over the number one spot from The Lion King 3D next week.

Alex started Film Misery in early 2009 after living the site’s title for many years. His film obsession began in high school when he and his friends would see all of the Oscar Best Picture nominees and try to make predictions...Full Bio.