After a summer of speculation about 3-D’s demise—this analysis in Slate is particularly good—The Lion King 3-D temporarily revived the format over the week, easily besting all contenders with $29.3 million. Of course, no one can say for sure how much better the 3-D release would have fared over the 2-D version, since the film is perhaps the most fervently embraced of the post-Little Mermaid Disney revival. But it’s safe to assume that the 3-D conversion was at least part of the draw, and seems especially impressive with the Blu-ray edition coming in just a few weeks. The 17-year-old animated “classic” nearly tripled the second-best new release, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, which only collected $11 million for third despite being totally awesome, thus discouraging the production of totally awesome films in the future. Still, Drive was a smash compared to the ill-advised remake of Straw Dogs, which limped into fifth with $5 million and the Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle I Don’t Know How She Does It, sixth with $4.5 million. Perhaps the latter will discourage the Nancy Meyers-ification of movie titles, though not before Why Didn’t I Think Of That? and Hold On A Sec, Somebody’s On The Other Line come out in 2012.
In limited release, critical repudiation of Gus Van Sant’s Restless was enough to kill it for arthouse audiences, too: Despite the backing of Sony Pictures Classics, it made a woeful $3,460 per screen on five screens. Soon to be in limited release: Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, which held onto 1,500 screens from week one, but posted a $253 average in week two, suggesting that Nick Swardson enthusiasts have until Thursday to catch him on the big screen.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.