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Box Office: The Lion Roars Again

With the Emmys happening yesterday (live blog!) -- and thus TV ruling the internet's hive mind -- we thought it prudent to wait until today to discuss the weekend box office.

Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen -actuals
01 THE LION KING 3D [review] re-release $30.1 (cum $369.9)
02 CONTAGION [venice capsule] $14.5 (cum $44.2)
03 DRIVE [reviewnew $11.3
04 THE HELP [review$6.5 (cum $147.4)
05 STRAW DOGS new $5.1
07 THE DEBT $2.9 (cum $26.5)
08 WARRIOR [review$2.8 (cum $10)
09 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES $2.6 (cumulative $171.6) 
10 COLOMBIANA $2.3 (cum $33.3)
11 SHARK NIGHT 3D  $1.8 (cum $17.3)
12 SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD $1.5 (cum $36.1)
13 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [review$1.5 (cum $80.7)

Talking Points: Goddamnit. Just as 3-D was looking like a doomed prospect, Disney has to go and surpass all expectations of The Lion King's post-conversion release. Now obviously not any old movie would be able to obliterate its new competition but The Lion King has always been the king of its jungle, as one of the highest grossing and most beloved movies of the 90s. But just because this wouldn't work for every feature, does not mean this won't convince Hollywood otherwise. They've already invested a lot in 3D and they aren't going to give up with these results.

The Help continues its very slow decline down the charts. It's not going to top Bridesmaids as the year's biggest non-franchise hit (since it's still $20 million behind) but #2 in that arena and #12 for the year overall from all films released for what is essentially a period piece ensemble actress drama sure is bragging rights. (And Oscar fuel if Disney realizes it in time.) 

Crazy Stupid Love isn't a blockbuster so people aren't really talking about its success but it's had relatively strong legs at the box office and quietly tallied up an impressive $80 million... all of which is very good news for its fine cast who are generally uneven as box office takes go.

Flops: Warrior, designed to be a crowd pleaser, just can't pull in the crowds. No word of mouth resurgence. And tough break for Sarah Jessica Parker's bankability; She Didn't Do It.

What did you see over the weekend? If it's Drive, join the discussion over in my review -- I drew pictures and everything! If something else, what was it? Did you love?

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Reader Comments (16)

I saw Drive this weekend. I liked it a lot but something was missing that I can't quite put my finger on. The entire film was carried by Ryan Gosling. He continues to excel in whatever he does. Bryan Cranston was great too. After mulling the film over for a day, I give it a solid B.

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I didn't see anything in theatres, but I watched Zoolander for the first time on Saturday night :). Finally got around to seeing it lol. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson were hilarious. It was also pretty funny seeing Alexander Skarsgard as one of Ben Stiller's model friends in the movie, after seeing him on True Blood.

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

I saw BEGINNERS this weekend (yes, we're that late here in Portugal!) and I'm completely and utterly in love with it.

I doubt there'll be a movie I enjoy more this year than that. Brilliant. And I really hope Plummer gets the Oscar for this. He's astonishing in a role that could have been played over-the-top/stereotypical and he works wonders with it.

And Ewan McGregor... I'm glad he's back to top form (The Ghost Writer, I Love Philip Morris and this). I hope he approaches baitier projects to grab that Oscar nomination that eluded him a decade ago (YES ACADEMY I STILL HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN THAT YOU IGNORED HIS GENIUS WORK IN MOULIN ROUGE! But for Sean Penn and his horrid mimicry *coff* 'performance' *coff* in 'I Am Sam' you always save room. And I love Denzel but McGregor AND Tom Wilkinson were best in show that year. Still hurts that Wilkinson is Oscarless in my book.)

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

According to Box Office Mojo, Crazy Stupid Love cost $50 million...that's a lot for an ensemble film with no CGI and no extravagant costumes and locations. If that number is correct, I guess a large part of the budget was dumped into the salaries of its stars. I looked on IMDB...and, apparently, Steve Carrell's quote is $15 million...I love Steve, but is he worth that much money?

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSoSueMe

I was really hoping that Warrior would do better. I want to see it badly, but small movies don't make it my way unless they explode at the box office. Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD.

How many flops has SJP had now? How many more will it take for her to go away?

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterK

In it's 6th weekend," Bridesmaids" made 7.09 million for a total of 136.4. This weekend "The Help" made 6.5, but has already made 147.4 so I think it's gonna pass it at some point down the road.

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCristopher

Cristopher -- hmmm. interesting. i guess it might be a tighter race than i'm thinking. But i would caution that we're moving into a lower grossing season in general and Bridesmaids was doing that during summer dollar.

Jorge -- happy that is winning more fans. So good. i am pretty sure it will be on my top ten list this year. that's two years in a row for Ewan McGregor. HE'S BACK! (and not a moment too soon)

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Agree with Cristopher. Think The Help will top 170 mil. Plus it doesn't look like there's a strong adult female film on the horizon.

Saw two films over the weekend. Drive and Poetry (netflix). The circumstances (facing the protagonists) are very different yet somewhat similar: they're both very lonely; they're both dragged into a quagmire to save someone they love; particular about clothes... Anyway, loved them both.

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRic H

Ric -- i continued to be overjoyed that people are discovering Poetry. Easily one of the best of the year and if my review convinced one person to see it, i'm happy ;)

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

That Simba picture is hilarious <3

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

The Lion King, 3D "upgrade" aside, bears out what rereleases of Star Wars, ET, The Exorcist, and Grease have previously proven - that there's a potentially large theatrical audience still out there for certain beloved older movies. I don't understand why more studios don't take advantage of this - they'd only have to pay for new prints and advertising, and they could probably skimp on advertising given name ID for a certain level of popular classic. And it would be may better than sitting through the endless shitty remakes, etc, that clutter up studio lineups instead.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Yawn. "IDKHSDI" flops and people on the internet feel the need to insult Sarah Jessica Parker mercilessly, tells her she can't open a movie and demands she stop making movies. "Warrior" flops and nobody says anything remotely similar about Tom Hardy.

I found it disappointing also that some people complained that rereleasing "The Lion King" was nothing more than a money maker (as if they haven't the faintest idea what Hollywood is all about), and yet casually ignored Hollywood's history of rereleasing classic films for new generations. Yes, these new gens have DVD to watch the classics on, but what parent wouldn't wanna take their kid to a classic rather than "Spy Kids 4D"? Until all "kids films" are as good as Pixar (minus "Cars 2", obvs) then I'd rather a quality rerelease.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Glenn -- i actually really like SJP (which i realize is an unpopular thing to do on the internet) so i hope you didn't think i was just piling on. But that is a very rough opening weekend for a big star. Tom Hardy isn't bankable at all yet though so you're right.

September 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

My best friend bought a ticket to "I Don't Know How She Does It" on Friday before I could suggest "Midnight in Paris," so we laughed (ironically) through two hours of utter nonsense that probably would have struggled for relevance thirty years ago, let alone in 2011. I can't imagine why anyone in the cast -- all of whom I generally enjoy as actors -- would have agreed to participate in the film, especially if they all actually read the script beforehand.

That screening was sandwiched between "Crazy, Stupid, Love" on Thursday, which I really liked, and "Straw Dogs" last night, which is so ridiculous -- especially with its over-the-top climax -- that I was tempted to give it an A simply for going there. Can someone riddle me why James Marsden can't catch a break?

At any rate, here are the thoughts struck me watching "CSL":
1. Marisa Tomei gets more and more beautiful every year.
2. I need to see more of Liza Lapira, who plays Emma Stone's best friend.
3. I would love to see Steve Carell in an aggressive, alpha-male role just to see if he'd be able to pull it off (which I think is possible).

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Oh, Nathaniel, I wasn't saying that about you, just "the internet" at large. Tom Hardy isn't a star, true, but I didn't read once that he shouldn't be cast in movies and go away forever.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Glenn -- yeah, that's the thing with men. Different rules apply in our weird patriarchy. One of those rules being automatic levels of respect unless you are REALLY a terrible person with several scandals you have to earn disrespect (lol). Women, the slightest idiosyncracy and people want to burn them at the stake.

September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R
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