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Lion King feels the box office love


Matthew Broderick provides the voice for Simba in The Lion King

Matthew Broderick provides the voice for Simba in The Lion King

Matthew Broderick provides the voice for Simba in The Lion King

The Lion King is once again reigning over the US box office.

A 3D version of the wildly popular Disney animated musical earned a surprising 29.3 million dollars in its first weekend in cinemas, according to estimates. The original film made more than 40 million when it opened nationwide 17 years ago.

Dave Hollis, Disney's executive vice president of distribution, said the movie remains relevant and as entertaining as it was when it first came out.

"You have children of the '90s who are now parents of the 2010s and they themselves are taking their kids to share what was, for them, a great experience two decades ago."

The story of wrongly-exiled lion prince Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a cub and Matthew Broderick as an adult) who must return home to claim his throne, The Lion King was the second-highest-grossing film of 1994, behind Forrest Gump.

It ranks fourth on the all-time animated list with over 784 million dollars. It earned Academy Awards for Hans Zimmer's original score and for original song for Elton John and Tim Rice's Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

Last week's number one movie, Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, dropped a spot in its second weekend. The Warner Bros viral thriller made about 14.5 million dollars for a total of 44.2 million.

Among the other new releases, Drive came in at number three with just over 11 million dollars. Ryan Gosling stars as a stoic wheelman in the retro action picture from FilmDistrict.

Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah thriller from Sony Screen Gems, opened in fifth place with only five million dollars. It stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth as a married couple under siege in the rural South.

PA Media