By Sarah Sluis
Seventeen years after the animated behemoth released, The Lion King in 3D easily assumed first place with $29.3 million. In comparison, 2009's 3D double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2, also a re-release, opened to just $12.4 million. Why such a difference? For one, The Lion King had a much longer waiting period between its release and re-release. There were no (theatrical) sequels to give audiences more time with Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa, whereas the Toy Story re-release was more of a prelude to the next installment, Toy Story 3. Second, The Lion Kingplay is still running on Broadway--a sign of the series' continued appeal. Finally, the animated feature was returning in a wide-open market. The last family movie opened five weeks ago, Spy Kids 3, and the critically panned movie has barely earned $30 million since. The only other kid movie, period, still in release is the two-month-old The Smurfs. No wonder families were flocking to the G-rated title. There's nothing else out there.
Contagion moved down one rung to second place, keeping its second week fall to 35% and earning another $14.4 million. Good reviews and the interest of adult audiences should keep this film in the top ten for weeks to come.
Drive opened in third place with $11 million. The Ryan Gosling getaway car drive movie is extremely polarizing, which is a good thing in my book (I'm one of the movie's fans). Though critics gave the movie a 92% positive rating and 81% of Rotten Tomatoes audiences liked the movie, it received only a C- Cinemascore rating--extremely low for a film that has people gushing with praise. An un-Hollywood ending, violence, and the movie's '80s music score were among the things that confused audiences, and judging from these comments walkouts and surprised looks weren't unusual. It's pretty rare for a movie to generate this diversity of responses, so the box office totals of coming weeks will show if this will spell success or disaster for the unusual action thriller.
I Don't Know How She Does It had a tepid debut of $4.5 million. The target audience (80% female, 50% over 35) isn't known for seeing movies opening weekend, so it could hold well in coming weeks, but this movie is the kind that will heat up once it hits Netflix. The working moms in the movie were probably too busy taking their tykes to a showing of The Lion King.
This Friday, the slick sports drama Moneyball will hit theatres along with Abduction, starring Twlight's Taylor Lautner. Rounding out the offerings will be the action thriller Killer Elite and the dolphin-with-prosthetic-fin tearjerker Dolphin Tale.