"The Lion King 3D" To Remain King of the Box Office
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    The Lion King cast (Credit: Disney)

  • by Paul Dergarbedian from

    A lion and four brand new releases are set to battle this weekend in a toss-up for first place.

    Disney’s “The Lion King” will try to remain at the top of the food chain in the wake of a surprise $30 million opening last weekend with a possible gross in the low-$20 million range.  Huge mid-week grosses portend a minimal percentage drop and the 3D revenue boost will give this king of the box office jungle a solid second weekend showing and a total of around $60 million by Sunday night. And, with almost five million fans on Facebook, these proud fans will be hard to beat.

    However, at least two of the newcomers will literally give the Lion a run for his money with a solid $20 million debut expected from Sony’s much buzzed about “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt in the true story of Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane.”  Also starring Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman the film has been generating tremendous buzz among critics and is likely to go into extra-innings with audiences in the coming weeks as the word-of-mouth builds for the film. The movie may only have 75,000 fans on Facebook, it has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Making a similar weekend splash of close to $20 million is Warner Bros.’ heartwarming “Dolphin Tale” in 3-D starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. The PG-rated film will benefit from renewed interest in post summer movie-going by the family audience in light of last week’s roaring performance by “The Lion King.” The inspirational take has over 82,000 fans on Facebook already.

    Likely to nab a gross in the $15 million plus range is Lionsgate’s “Abduction” featuring “Twilight” star and teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner.  Directed by “Boyz N the Hood’s” John Singleton, this PG-13 thriller tells the tale of a young man looking to uncover the truth about his past. Plus, it helps that Taylor Lautner’s abs have 230,000 fans on Facebook.

    The fifth spot with about $12 million should go to Open Road’s “Killer Elite” starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro. The R-rated action drama is based on a true story in which a special ops agent is pitted against his former mentor. Almost 140,000 fans are excited for this guaranteed action movie.