October 24, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Weekend Box Office: The Lion King 3D

HollywoodNews.com: In a slightly shocking result that has several notable meanings, Disney’s 3D-converted re-release of The Lion King (essay) cruised into the number one spot over the weekend with a mighty $30.1 million. Acting as both a two-week advertisement for the October 4th Blu Ray release and a test run for possibly reviving the old ‘out of the vault and back into theaters’ strategy of old, the film didn’t just top the box office but very nearly set a record for the Mouse House.

In the realm of Disney cartoons that are NOT Pixar releases, The Lion King 3D is actually fifth on the opening weekend list, behind Tarzan ($34 million), Chicken Little ($40 million), The Lion King ($40.8 million), and Tangled ($48 million). It is the fifth-biggest September opening in history and came within $600,000 of besting the $30.7 million domestic gross of Disney’s Toy Story/Toy Story 2 double-feature 3D re-release October, 2009. That re-release, which was both an advertisement for the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Blu Ray releases as well as the upcoming Toy Story 3, opened with $12.4 million despite Disney offering two shows for the price of one (IE – half the show times in a given day). So simply taking the Toy Story 3D opening weekend and doubling it gives you around $25 million, meaning that this weekend’s result was not quite as unexpected as its being reported.

If The Lion King 3D matches the 2.4x weekend-to-total multiplier of the Toy Story double-feature, then we’re looking at $71 million. That accomplishes three goals. First of all, it’s already surpassed the $339 million domestic gross of Finding Nemo, which means that The Lion King is now the biggest-grossing non-sequel cartoon of all-time. Second of all, a $73 million total will be JUST enough to get The Lion King over the $400 million mark, which just looks prettier. And finally, with $12 million in overseas added to the new domestic total of $357 million, the worldwide gross for The Lion King now sits at $825 million (Up yours, Shrek the Third!).

If this re-release does $73 million in America and $32 million overseas (a reasonable guess), then ends with $890 million and leapfrogs over Finding Nemo ($867 million) and most importantly Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($886 million). The $919 million worldwide total of Shrek 2 is the one Disney really wants to surpass (as it would mean that The Lion King and Toy Story 3 are the two biggest cartoons of all-time), but that seems unlikely, especially if this release does indeed close out after two weeks (doubtful…).

Photo by Disney Enterprises Inc.

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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