Back in 1994, Simba made the unlikely journey to claim his crown as ruler of the jungle and king of the box office. Seventeen years later, "The Lion King" is back to take his throne once more.
During a weekend that is hosting the release of Ryan Gosling's hotly anticipated, critical darling neo-noir action flick "Drive," a new wheelhouse-tapping Sarah Jessica Parker romantic comedy, Alexander Skarsgard's smoldering horror remake and a second go-round for the star-studded viral thriller "Contagion," it's the 3D re-release of Disney's beloved classic cartoon that is set to rake in the most ticket stub cash.
The beginning of a two week limited engagement mainly meant to hype up the impending Blu-ray special edition of the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Friday's opening night grossed between $7-8 million at the box office, topping what a number of well-known films -- and expected flops -- will make for the entire weekend.
Deadline projects the film to take in $15 million this weekend -- with "Contagion" at $13 million and "Drive" at $11 mil -- while THR says estimates for the revisiting of the Oscar-winning animated classic has receipts hitting $23 million.
Regardless of the exact number, it's a major victory for Disney, who already scored big this summer with Pixar's "Cars 2." What it means for 3D movies, which have struggled domestically this year, is less clear; the established property here obviously trumps any attraction to refreshed and enhanced animation, though it will likely mean, at the very least, more of Disney's classics will get the 3D re-release treatment.