‘Lion King’ Tops Box Office Friday, Beats out ‘Drive’

The Lion King
The Lion King 3D hits theaters Friday
Screen shot 2011 09 16 at 12.46.21 PM
The Lion King 3D hits theaters Friday

Simba still knows how to roar.

The 3D version of “The Lion King” took the No. 1 spot on the day it premiered—earning $8.8 million on Friday, according to estimates from Box Office Mojo.

Lion King beat out “Contagion,” the movie about a lethal virus that kills within days and starts a global pandemic—creating a new wave of hand-washing fanatics who saw the movie. Simba also flexed some muscle and beat out “Drive,” Ryan Goslings new movie, which also premiered on Friday.

The new version of the animated movie was released 17 years after the original touched the hearts of audiences across the country.

With Simba and his friends back in theaters, it was expected to bring in some big bucks over the weekend as the excitement for the post-production 3D movie grew over the past week.

By creating a new version, the makers of the film are hoping to introduce the heart-warming story to a younger audience that may have never seen the original.

For those who never saw the movie, here’s a recap:

It is about a young lion cub coming of age and experiencing life, love and friendship as he searches for his place in the “Circle of Life.” Throughout his journey Simba faces tragedy and betrayal, as he matures into the Lion King.

Lion King 3D
Simba is back: Lion King 3D hits theaters Friday

Aside from revisiting the emotional roller coaster the film creates, moviegoers also might head back to the theaters to groove to the Academy Award winning music.

The movie, released in the summer of ’94, received four Academy Award nominations—taking home two awards for Original Score and Original Song.

“The Lion King” grossed $328 million domestically with a projected budget of $45 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Worldwide totals for the film come out to $788 million.

The 3D version did get some love from critics who gave the movie a 89 percent rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes. But some reviewers did admit that they still prefer the original.

Of course, nothing is ever like the original, but who wouldn’t want to relive what they felt in ’94 after seeing the movie?

Here are the movies that cracked the Top 5 at the Box Office on Friday:

  1. The Lion King: $8,825,000
  2. Contagion: $4,630,000
  3. Drive: $4,024,000
  4. Straw Dogs: $1,985,000
  5. The Help: $1,930,000

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