17 years after becoming a box office phenomenon and becoming the pinnacle of a new age of Disney animation, “The Lion King” has returned to the top of the box office. A limited release in 3-D before debuting on Blu-ray for the first time, the animated classic pulled in $8 million on Friday. That’s far ahead of what pre-release polling indicated and it now looks like the re-release could find $22-23 million for the weekend. “Lion King” has grossed a substantial $788.2 million globally since its debut in 1994.
Dropping to the second slot was “Contagion” with another $5 million and what appears to be a $12-13 million three-day. The Steven Soderbergh action-thriller has amassed $34 million in just eight days.
Not far behind “Contagion” was the debut of “Drive” with $4.5 million and a weekend estimate of $11 million. The critically acclaimed thriller won the best directing award at the Cannes Film Festival this past May, but going wide may not have been the best option for FilmDistrict. With a reported C- Cinemascore it seems “Drive” may have been better suited for a slow rollout following a limited release.
Fairing far less impressively was the Sarah Jessica Parker comedy “I Don’t Know How She Does It” and the Screen Gems remake of “Straw Dogs.” Both had tepid openings of just $2.2 million and $2.3 million respectively and should finish the weekend somewhere between $5-5.5 million each.
Look for complete weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFix.