BOX OFFICE: ‘Lion’ roars at the top

Posted by · 9:21 am · September 18th, 2011

Disney found a somewhat soft spot for children’s films in the 2011 schedule to slot “The Lion King 3D,” and they came away with a healthy #1 take this weekend. Assuming you’re okay with that being added to the film’s already impressive overall take from the summer of 1994, it leap-frogs “Finding Nemo” to become the third-highest grossing animated film of all time. Now that I look at the figures, “Drive” actually opened on a lot more screens than I thought, but I’m nevertheless a bit surprised it bested “Straw Dogs” (which itself was even held in check by the still-chugging “The Help”).

(Courtesy: Exhibitor Relations)

→ 30 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Box Office

30 responses so far

  • 1 9-18-2011 at 9:58 am

    James said...

    Good thing Drive has a low budget.

  • 2 9-18-2011 at 10:09 am

    /3rtfull said...

    Did you actually believe Straw Dogs from the ads and its rating would appeal to a larger audience than Drive?

  • 3 9-18-2011 at 10:19 am

    m1 said...

    Drive will probably have strong legs like Hanna did earlier this year, so this opening weekend won’t look too bad.

  • 4 9-18-2011 at 10:26 am

    SC said...

    I believe this is the first rerelease #1 since the original “Star Wars” trilogy back in February-March 1997.

    With these box office results, we should probably pencil a rerelease of “Aladdin” sometime into next year’s fall schedule (2oth anniversary and all that).

  • 5 9-18-2011 at 10:33 am

    John G said...

    m1 – Drive had a $13million budget; this is a great opening weekend.

  • 6 9-18-2011 at 10:49 am

    Rashad said...

    I’m actually kind of glad it did so well. Show families what real animated entertainment is like.

  • 7 9-18-2011 at 11:04 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “Did you actually believe Straw Dogs from the ads and its rating would appeal to a larger audience than Drive?”

    It had a commercial appeal, yeah. But I guess Drive was ultimately sold as something it’s not, so it’s not ENTIRELY surprising. I just expected Straw Dogs to do better than it did, I guess. Not that crazy.

  • 8 9-18-2011 at 11:13 am

    JJ1 said...

    I think $4.5 million for the Sarah Jessica Parker movie shows that her popularity has waned. 5-6 years ago, that would have been double digits, for sure. And the film didn’t even get atrocious reviews.

  • 9 9-18-2011 at 11:17 am

    shark said...

    I’m really happy and surprised. The other two big new releases, Straw Dogs and whatever the hell the new SJP abortion is called were expected to best it. Hey, and Contagion isn’t totally belly-flopping like I thought it would. HUZZAH!

  • 10 9-18-2011 at 11:22 am

    Graysmith said...

    Hollywood: All outta ideas.

  • 11 9-18-2011 at 11:35 am

    Andrew M said...

    I’m happy for Drive, but there were a lot of people (older people) in my theater not ready for what they were about to watch.

  • 12 9-18-2011 at 11:41 am

    JJ1 said...

    Yeah, there are 4 new wide releases next week. And I have no idea what WOM will be like for the rest of the week for ‘Drive’. Can’t tell whether it’ll be a 40-50% drop, or something more like 60-65%. Either way, $11 mill is a very nice opener.

  • 13 9-18-2011 at 11:59 am

    /3rtfull said...

    It had a commercial appeal, yeah. But I guess Drive was ultimately sold as something it’s not, so it’s not ENTIRELY surprising. I just expected Straw Dogs to do better than it did, I guess. Not that crazy.

    Ryan Gosling’s face, Ryan Gosling’s upper body in a metalic jacket looking cool and driving a fast car — that’s commercial appeal over a bunch of young actors in a house looking less attractive while a bunch of old guys attempt to break-in and attack them. The fact that Dogs is a remake killed its appeal with most older audiences and Ryan Gosling being badass — that’s appealing.

  • 14 9-18-2011 at 12:11 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Drive will have no legs.

  • 15 9-18-2011 at 12:24 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I can’t believe you’ve retired from writing columns. Your perspective is so contrarian without every becoming obnoxious and assholian.

  • 16 9-18-2011 at 12:41 pm

    Speaking English said...

    He probably does have a point, though. Audience reception is apparently quite negative on it.

  • 17 9-18-2011 at 1:49 pm

    Andrew M said...

    Looking back on the ads, I’m not really sure what audiences were expecting though. A Transporter type movie? Sure it wasn’t advertised correctly, I just don’t see that from the ads.

  • 18 9-18-2011 at 1:50 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    /3rtfull: Why are you so generally unpleasant?

  • 19 9-18-2011 at 1:51 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Did Warrior open on more or less screens than Drive? I know it was a 1,000 or some less than Contagion. Drive is what… 2000-ish?

  • 20 9-18-2011 at 1:52 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    JJ1- Last time I checked 19% on RT… atrocious, indeed.

  • 21 9-18-2011 at 2:01 pm

    /3rtfull said...

    I said what to earn that reply?

  • 22 9-18-2011 at 2:05 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    You just have been coming across incredibly abrasive when unnecessary lately. Maybe I’m reading you wrong. *shrug*

  • 23 9-18-2011 at 2:30 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Dana, I guess I read quite a few 2/2.5 out of 4 type of reviews (most of which negative). But I hadn’t seen/read many dismal reviews (zero, 1 star, 1.5, etc).

    on RT 2.5 stars or less can basically be seen as negative. It depends on the critic.

    Funny enough, some of those reviews I read thought SJP was the weak link of the movie; hence, the screenplay may have been better than her (which you wouldn’t necessarily think to be the case).

    She’s divisive, but it’s usually the movies she’s IN that get the bad ink, not necessarily her. That’s been my perspective.

  • 24 9-18-2011 at 3:31 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Drive got an C- cinemascore (by comparison critically panned action movies like Conan the Barbarian, Shark Night, and Green Lantern were all in the C+/B- range) so bad WOM will probably keep it from holding well. But that is still a very good opening from a film which I thought may have been better suited to a limited release.

    And The Lion King number is pretty stunning given how poor the re-release market has been in recent years and I’ve thought for a while that this release might be more of a marketing tool for the 3D blu-ray in Oct. Obviously the film is very popular and the 3D conversion convinced some audiences that this was a new experience, but still one of the most surprising openings of the year IMO.

  • 25 9-18-2011 at 3:37 pm

    tony rock said...


    Probably because contrarianism for the sake of it annoys people.

  • 26 9-18-2011 at 3:45 pm

    JJ1 said...

    As my mom pointed out (regarding Lion King 3D), many unknowing parents bringing their kids to the movies for the weekend would see Lion King up there at the box office/matinee and jump at the chance for their kids(s) to see it.

    Also, since the film is over 17 yrs. old (damn …), many young parents who enjoyed the film when they were kids/teens could have been jumping at the chance to re-live the movie and/or show their young kids the movie on a big screen.

    Who knows. But $30 mill is amazing, for sure.

  • 27 9-18-2011 at 6:41 pm

    redcup said...

    I liked what Ebert had to say about the Drive advertising, ” ‘Drive’ looks like one kind of movie in the ads, and it is that kind of movie. It is also a rebuke to most of the movies it looks like.”

  • 28 9-19-2011 at 9:06 am

    JC said...

    I’m doubting DRIVE will hold well. Film District has impressed me with “decent” openings on films that they have yet to full advertise in traditional ways. As much I love Drive, it’s an art house crowd type pick. While much better than THE AMERICAN, I think it will suffer similar legs as regular audiences just “don’t get it.” Still, a $30m gross seems in store, not bad against an $11m budget.

  • 29 9-19-2011 at 2:35 pm

    Derek 8-Track said...

    I’m just glad Rise of the Planet of the Apes is still in the top 10.

  • 30 9-20-2011 at 12:38 am

    shark said...

    Drive and The American would make a terrific double feature.