Disney’s re-release of The Lion King, the 1994 hit reformatted into 3D to inject extra pizzazz to consumers, launched at number one on an estimated $29.3m.

Warner Bros’ thriller Contagion fell to number two and stands at $44.2m after two weekends while FilmDistrict release the thriller Drive (pictured) directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling in third place on $11m.

DreaWorks’ The Help is days away from crossing $150m through Disney after six weekends in release and Fox’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes has also prospered, earning $171.6m after seven.

Neither Screen Gems’ Straw Dogs remake nor The Weinstein Company’s I Don’t Know How She Does It fared well in their first weekends, opening in fifth on $5m and sixth on $4.5m, respectively.

Next weekend’s wide releases are the Taylor Lautner vehicle Abduction through Lionsgate; Warner Bros’ family film Dolphin Tale; Sony’s recent Toronto world premiere and potential awards contender Moneyball starring Brad Pitt; and Open Road’s first release Killer Elite with Jason Statham, which also premiered in Toronto.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 16-18, 2011
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date


1 (-) The Lion King (In 3D) (Buena Vista) WDSMPI $29.3m –

2 (1) Contagion (Warner Bros) WBPI $14.5m $44.2m

3 (-) Drive (FilmDistrict) Sierra/Affinity $11m –

4 (2) The Help (Disney/DreamWorks) WDSMPI $6.4m $147.4m

5 (-) Straw Dogs (Screen Gems) SPRI $5m –

6 (-) I Don’t Know How She Does It (TWC) TWC $4.5m –

7 (4) The Debt (Focus Features) UIP $2.9m $26.5m

8 (3) Warrior (Lionsgate) Lionsgate $2.8m $9.9m

9 (6) Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Fox Int’l $2.6m $171.6m

10 (5) Colombiana (TriStar) EuropaCorp $2.3m $33.3m