3D "Lion King" rules box office for second week

Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:03pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Lion King" fended off Brad Pitt to keep the box-office crown for a second straight weekend.

Walt Disney Co's 3D re-release of the animated classic rang up an estimated $22.1 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales over three days as families turned out to see lion cub Simba's return to theaters.

Baseball drama "Moneyball" starring Pitt took second and family film "Dolphin Tale" finished a close third, according to studio projections released on Sunday.

Ticket sales for "The Lion King 3D" have far surpassed industry expectations for a movie that debuted in 1994 and will soon hit stores on Blu-ray disc. The film has grossed $61.7 million in North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters since its release last weekend, plus $16 million in international markets, where it came out more than a month ago.

Combined, the "Lion King" re-release has brought in $77.7 million around the world. Disney will extend the planned two-week run in theaters, said Dave Hollis, executive vice president for motion picture sales and distribution at Disney.

"We are working to meet that demand," Hollis said.

Baseball and math didn't quite add up to a box-office win for "Moneyball," which finished in second place with $20.6 million domestically. Pitt plays real-life Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who used unconventional statistical analysis to field a small-budget team of overlooked players to make an unlikely playoff run.

The movie won positive reviews from critics and received an A rating from audiences polled by CinemaScore.   Continued...

<p>A scene from "The Lion King". REUTERS/ Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures</p>