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September 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

UPDATED: The Walt Disney Co., the only studio that periodically releases films from its famed vault, pulled off its most successful re-release ever this past weekend as its 3D version of 1994’s The Lion King brought in $30.2 million in its return to theaters. Disney had planned to give it only a two-week theatrical release to generate favorable word-of-mouth before putting the film out for the first time on Blu-ray disc next month. The jaw-dropping figure was more than twice what Disney’s re-release of the first two Toy Story movies brought in ($12.5 million) when they were re-released together in 2009. Over the Christmas holiday in 2002, The Lion King was released on only 66 IMAX screens and demonstrated its power then by pulling in $1.8 million over the three-day period — or an average of $27,664 per theater — and collected $2.8 million over the five-day holiday. Most box-office pundits had predicted that the Disney classic would eke out a small victory. But others had forecast that the winner would be last week’s champ, Contagion, which did in fact perform admirably, dropping only a modest 35 percent in its second session and winding up with $14.5 million, to place second. Film District’s critically well-received Drive placed third as it opened with $11.3 million, about what was expected. But director Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs tanked with just $5.1 million, beaten by the sixth week of The Help, which added $6.5 million to its total, now standing at a remarkable $147.4 million.