"Lions" were long at America's movie box offices last weekend, when Walt Disney Pictures' The Lion King roared with the third-highest opening weekend in motion picture history.
The Lion King, Disney's 32nd animated film, grossed an estimated $41-million Friday through Sunday, to rank behind only Jurassic Park (1993, $47-million) and Batman Returns (1992, $45.7-million) among the highest-grossing debuts. That extraordinary showing led the industry to its biggest non-holiday weekend grosses to date _ an estimated $105-million during the three days, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The action juggernaut Speed once again claimed the runner-up spot with an estimated $12.5-million take at the box office. That represented a drop of only three percent from last week's total _ a money-making consistency that eludes most films.
For example, last week's top grosser, Wolf, fell to third place with a $12.3-million gross, a decrease of nearly 33 percent from its opening weekend. Speed has shown the most ticket-selling consistency of any 1994 release, so far.
Kevin Costner's three-hour epic Wyatt Earp finished a lackluster fourth, with estimated receipts of $7.4-million. The length of the film reduces the number of screenings theaters can schedule during a day, which sliced into its box office potential.
One film that took a fast tumble after a robust debut, The Flintstones, placed fifth last weekend with $6-million. That vaulted the cartoon-inspired comedy past the coveted $100-million mark in its fourth week.
City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold apparently won't match the $120-million box office total of its 1991 inspiration. The Billy Crystal comedy garnered $4.7-million as it fell to sixth place overall in its third week. Another Western, Mel Gibson's Maverick, faded to seventh place with $3.8-million.
Getting Even with Dad earned an estimated $3.7-million in its second week. That film's hasty retreat in the top-10 isn't what Macaulay Culkin and Ted Danson expected from their comeback vehicle.
Renaissance Man, starring Danny DeVito as an Army boot camp instructor, grossed $1.9-million for ninth place, while yet another cowpoke comedy, The Cowboy Way, claimed 10th place with $1.3-million.