Thursday, September 22, 2011

Return of the "King": The Weekend Box Office Brings 2-D Classic to Today's 3-D World

Disney decided to re-release their 1994 animated box-office hit The Lion King in 3-D this past weekend. At the time of it's release, it was the highest grossing animated film of all time (with a domestic gross of $312.9 million), until Finding Nemo overtook it in 2003 (with a $339.7 million gross), and then by Shrek 2 in 2004 ($441.2 million) and Toy Story 3 last year ($415 million), respectfully. King was re-released in IMAX theaters in 2002, grossing an additional $15.7 million, and has now added $29.3 million from this past weekend. It has now surpassed Nemo to become the third biggest animated film ever--at $365.8 million so far. (Talk about irony!)

Besides topping such new releases as Drive, Straw Dogs, and I Don't Know How She Does It combined, King proved a nostalgic pick for moviegoers. According to, 59 percent of moviegoers were under 25, along with 74 percent consisting of families with kids (a nice way to start the new school year), and 56 percent being women. According to, it was also the first time a hand-drawn feature had been converted to 3-D. The results have reportedly been astonishing, especially for audience members who've never seen the film before. It's similar to the 1997 reissues of the Star Wars trilogy.

I was surprised when I first heard this news in an issue of USA Today earlier this week. As a lifelong fan and admirer of animation, it's incredible to hear how a hand-drawn feature (especially one released fifteen years ago) could draw such crowds against new releases in today's 3-D world. Who knows if this is a sign that hand-drawn animation is alive, well, and still relevant? If it is, count me in an advocacy for the artform that started everything. Regardless, it certainly proved a nostalgic trip down memory lane for audiences last weekend.

Check out the following links for more info:

Hakuna Matata,


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