Biff Bam Pop’s Box Office Wrap-Up Report – Weekend of September 16th

The Lion King roared its way back to the top of the box office while Sarah Jessica Parker just ordered a script for Sex and the City 3, stat. Not a stellar weekend of predictions on my end, but other than Simba and company, it wasn’t a stellar weekend at the movies, period. Here’s how it went down:

Released just weeks in advance of its debut on blu-ray, The Lion King returned to theatres in 3D and destroyed the competition, bringing in an impressive $29 million (I had predicted a first place showing, but a more modest gross of $13 million). As I mentioned on Friday, The Lion King is a classic, and the kids who grew up on the film are now taking their own to see it. It will be interesting to see how the film plays out during its second and final weekend in release, but it was definitely a smart move by Disney rereleasing it, as there was an obvious interest.

Coming in second, falling one spot from its debut last weekend, is Contagion with $14.4 million (I predicted a third place finish and $11 million). While it had a solid drop of only 35% week to week, I’m hesitant still to consider the film a hit, as its budget was $60 million. While it’s now a lock to make that number back (something I was doubtful of a week ago), I don’t think we’ll see Contagion reach $100 million.

Hitting third place with a lacklustre $11 million is Drive, staring Ryan Gosling (I had predicted a second place finish and $12.5 million). This has to be considered a disappointment on every level, as reviews for Drive were stellar and Ryan Gosling is supposed to be star (at least, that’s what Hollywood is hoping for). Unless word of mouth somehow kicks in next weekend, I don’t think Drive will be long for theatres.

The Help managed to stay strong this weekend, sitting at the fourth spot with $6.4 million. I hadn’t made a prediction on this one, figuring it would be out of the top 5.

The remake of Straw Dogs debut in fifth place with an anemic $5 million, one  spot lower and $4 million less than predicted. I’d say that audiences are growing tired of remakes, but in the case of Straw Dogs, that’s a film that was never a big hit to begin with. Instead, I’d suggest that there just wasn’t enough star power to bring in the audiences.

Speaking of star power, I think that Sarah Jessica Parker’s has clearly diminished, as her latest film, I Don’t Know How She Does It didn’t even make the top 5, landing at number six with only $4.5 million (I had predicted a fifth place showing and $8 million gross).

So, to recap, here’s what I predicted:

1) The Lion King in 3D – $13 million
2) Drive – $12.5 million
3) Contagion – $11 million
4) Straw Dogs – $9 million
5) I Don’t Know How She Does It – $8 million

And here’s how the weekend turned out:

1) The Lion King in 3D – $29 million
2) Contagion – $14.4 million
3) Drive – $11 million
4) The Help – $6.4 million
5) Straw Dogs– $5 million

Next weekend sees the release of four more big budget films – Abduction, Killer Elite, Dolphin Tale and Moneyball. Will any of these topple The Lion King from the top? Check back on Friday to see our predictions!

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