‘Hakuna Matata’ for Disney as the studio is crowned box office king over the weekend. The re-release of the seventeen year-old The Lion King grossed $30.1  million, a great figure for a film that has long been available on video and DVD.

Of course the number was helped with the higher 3D ticket price, but this is a major coup for Disney and it shows that people are willing to pay good money for 3D conversions of older movies – something that will please James Cameron and George Lucas, who have Titanic and Star Wars on the way. The Lion King has already grossed an impressive $797 million since it was first released in 1994, and an international rollout should see the animated film cross the billion dollar mark around the globe – a number that Disney is now used to following Toy Story 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Alice In Wonderland.

Elsewhere, the box office numbers weren’t so impressive. Steven Soderbergh’s all-star Contagion should take the runner-up spot and score in the region of $14.5 million, giving the film a total gross of $44 million. While the number is far from a disaster (especially considering its $60 million production cost), I’m sure that Warner Bros. was hoping for something higher considering the star-wattage (Matt Damon​, Kate Winslet​, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law​, Laurence Fishburne​ and Marion Cotillard​) involved. However, this cast does mean that Contagion has the potential to score in the overseas market.

The awesomely reviewed Drive (read our review) was third. The Ryan Gosling thriller should end the weekend with $11.3 million. Not a bad number considering the R-rating and when you take into account that it’s not exactly The Fast and the Furious. While Gosling may not be on the A-list yet, he is accumulating a solid fanbase due to a varied filmography filled with strong roles. This summer the comedy  Crazy, Stupid, Love gave the actor his biggest hit since 2004’s The Notebook, and while Drive may not top that film’s $80 million gross, it should do respectable numbers considering its low-ish budget. Gosling will next be seen in George Clooney’s Oscar-tipped The Ides of March. Not a bad year.

The Help is inching closer to $150 million domestic after grossing $6.5 million. That’s a great number for a film that cost only $25 million to produce. However, it remains to be seen how that film will play around the world, or if it will sink into the public consciousness.

Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs failed to find an audience over the weekend. The film should greet Monday morning with $5.1 million in the bank. While the original film in 1971 may have been shocking, this time around it was a tired revenge concept for the average moviegoer. Negative reviews (read ours) didn’t help (most highlighting the pointlessness of remaking the classic original) – and box office numbers were certainly hurt by the fact that James Marsden and Kate Bosworth are hardly household names. Expect this one to appear in a bargain bin near you soon.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s latest insight into the female psyche, I Don’t Know How She Does It had a lackluster debut with $4.4 million, a number which is about $1.5 million less than Parker’s last non-Carrie Bradshaw flick 2009’s Did You Hear About the Morgans? That film went on to gross an unspectacular $29 million, even with the added bonus of Hugh Grant. This latest film suffered from a generic premise and poor reviews, and its target audience must have thought that it had been there, and done that, with Parker before and decided to wait for the DVD. What angers me about the whole thing is Pierce Brosnan’s lack of billing in the whole affair. Maybe, it’s for the best, but still the man was James Bond and the least he deserves his name above the title.

Sam Worthington’s The Debt banked another $2.9 million, for a $26.5 million total. The film has already covered its $20 million budget and should turn a profit. However, the real question is: does Worthington have box office appeal when he’s not blue, battling robots or clashing with titans?

Warrior failed to find its audience, and should become a cult-hit on DVD. The Tom Hardy film could punch-up around $2.8 million over weekend for a total gross of just over $10 million.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Colombiana rounded out the top. Apes has now brought in over $171 million after grossing another $2.6 million. The well reviewed franchise restarter is now closing in on $400 million worldwide. Meanwhile, the Luc Besson produced film scored $2.3 million this weekend. The action film has now shot up over $33 million domestically and about $50 million around the globe.

That’s it for now. See you at the movies.

Source: Box Office Mojo