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Posted at 01:07 AM ET, 09/26/2011

Brad Pitt can’t beat Simba at the box office


Brad Pitt, rocking a visor in “Moneyball.” (Melinda Sue Gordon - © 2011 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.)

“Moneyball” made a projected $20.6 million over the weekend, but it wasn’t quite enough to unseat the re-release of “The Lion King.”

The Lion King 3D” held on to the top spot at the box office with $22.1 million, enough money to reportedly convince Disney to extend what was supposed to be a two-week theatrical run leading up to the Oct. 4 DVD/Blu-ray release. The critically acclaimed “Moneyball” landed in second place.

Find a closer look at Brad Pitt’s performance, the details on Taylor Lautner’s first attempt at action-star status and the weekly poll that lets readers predict next week’s box office winner, all after the jump.

So how did “Moneyball” do?

The short answer is fine, if not spectacular. As Box Office Mojo notes, that estimated $20.6 million is on the low end of the spectrum for a Brad Pitt movie and slightly less than the similarly lauded “The Social Network” brought in around the same time last year (it debuted to just under $23 million). On the other hand, it also marks the strongest debut of all time for a baseball movie. Its audience skewed older (64 percent were over the age of 35) and slightly more male, but not by much (51 percent of ticket buyers were men). Given the positive word-of-mouth, the film has the potential to do solid, long-term business, so perhaps this modestly strong start is only the beginning.

Almost as popular as Brad Pitt? Dolphins.

“The Lion King” wasn’t the only movie this weekend that affirmed the power of family-friendly releases. “Dolphin Tale” — a heartwarmer about a bottlenose mammal who loses his tail — was hot on “Moneyball’s” heels with an estimated $20.2 million. The film was marketed specifically to the faith-based community, and that seems to have paid off. Dave Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros., the studio behind “Dolphin Tale,” tells the L.A. Times that the uplifting film did well in “home-schooling areas and the Bible Belt.” He also compared its appeal to that of “The Blind Side.”

Young ladies love Taylor Lautner. Audiences in general? Less so.

Lautner didn’t quite prove he’s blockbuster material with “Abduction.” The action flick landed in fourth place with $11.2 million — a somewhat underwhelming figure. But the Times and other outlets have pointed out that the actor sometimes still known as Jacob Black did demonstrate his ability to activate his fan base. The majority of the “Abduction” audience — 68 percent — was female and most were under 25, suggesting that a portion of the Twi-hard crowd stood by its man even though “Abduction” had nothing to do with brooding vampires or werewolves. So Lautner may not be a box office star yet, but he does have a following. If he could somehow be inserted into a 3D animated Disney re-release, Hollywood might really have something there.

Here are your top five movies at the weekend box office:

1. “The Lion King 3D” — $22.13 million

2. “Moneyball” — $20.6 million

3. “Dolphin Tale” — $20.2 million

4. “Abduction” — $11.2 million

5. “Killer Elite” — $9.5 million

Now predict what will be No. 1 at next weekend’s box office by voting in our weekly poll:

By  |  01:07 AM ET, 09/26/2011

Categories:  Box Office, Movies

 
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