This is definitely something no one could have predicted a few weeks ago, I mean The Lion King, a 17 year old animated movie becoming the highest grosser of the month. But, you know, there was nothing even remotely close to it besides Contagion in September so we could also attribute that to lackluster sales for mostly lackluster movies. Anyway, you guys probably wonder how the other movies performed and that comes right after the break.
Okay, The Lion King 3D is kicking some serious ass for a second weekend in a row with $21.9 million for an astonishing $62.9 after 11 days. By comparison, Contagion has made $57.6 million after 18 days. Thanks to all this new found money, the classic animated feature is now at $391.5 million in North America, going from 24th to 12th place on the all time US table in the past two weeks. Even better news, the initial 2 weeks only theater engagement that this movie had has been extended and The Lion King 3D will be here next weekend, with a bit of luck in first place again.
The rest of the top 5 is filled with new entries starting with Moneyball in 2nd. The Brad Pitt sports drama wasn’t strong enough to upset The Lion King but it was good none the less. $19.5 million is a decent result for the genre and when it comes to baseball movies openings it ranks 2nd just behind The Benchwarmers. Moneyball reportedly cost $50 million to produce and with the current opening in mind, I’m expecting it will finish with over $80 million in North America. I could say that profitability on this flick is very likely.
Next up Dolphin Tale was 3rd with $19.1 million, very impressive and even more so considering this went up against The Lion King with family audiences, yet neither seemed to suffer all that much. Good reviews and expected great word of mouth could lead Dolphin Tale to $100 million or more in North America making this a very profitable affair for Warner Bros. since it cost just $37 million to make.
Taylor Lautner’s Abduction finished 4th with $10.9 million and considering just how bad this movie was, I’d say the kid definitely helped its odds, raising a lot more money then it would have normally. I’m actually all the more impressive that this beat fellow action movie Killer Elite ($9.3 million), starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Rober DeNiro. Abduction got worse reviews (3% versus 25% on Rotten Tomatoes) and was much cheaper ($35 million versus $70 million) yet it opened higher. So can Taylor Lautner open a movie? Yes he can, just not as big as some studios think.
Finally, thanks to all the above, 23-25 2011 is now the highest grossing September weekend ever.