urx unit loader 'Lion King: 3D' can't wait to top 'Drive,' 'Contagion' at weekend box office
the lion king 3d box office 'Lion King: 3D' can't wait to top 'Drive,' 'Contagion' at weekend box office

17 years after its original release, “The Lion King” is on track to top the box office again.

Disney’s ’90s hit, the highest-grossing hand-drawn animation film of all time, hits theaters this weekend with the 3D treatment, and audiences are surpassing expectations, bringing in an expected $8 million during Friday.

Box Office pundits are divided on how well the film will do, with estimates ranging from $15 million to $24 million, but Friday shows it will end up much closer to the latter.

This puts it well ahead its closest competition, week two of Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion,” which slips to the #2 spot. The outbreak thriller, which reportedly has audiences heading straight to wash their hands, is on target o bring in $13 million for the weekend.

Ryan Gosling’s dark action-crime-drama “Drive” is off to a solid start, falling just shy of #2, with an expected $10 million for the weekend.

“The Help” holds strong at #4, with $6.7 million expected for the weekend, atop the embarrassingly modest debuts for Sarah Jessica Parker’s “I Don’t Know How She Does It” ($5 million) and the remake of “Straw Dogs” ($5.2 million).