question of the day: Has the surprising success of ‘The Lion King in 3D’ opened Pandora’s box office?

Disney's The Little Mermaid

As of Tuesday, the most recent day for which box office figures are available, The Lion King in 3D has earned more than $80 million at North American multiplexes in a little over three weeks. The film opens in the U.K. tomorrow and will certainly do as well here. I don’t think it has anything to do with the 3D conversion, but that’s not stopping Disney — which is surely stunned by how audiences are flocking to the cartoon savannah — from taking a cue from this. From a Disney press release:


‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Finding Nemo,’ ‘Monsters, Inc.’ and ‘The Little Mermaid’ Will Make 3D Theatrical Debut in 2012 and 2013

BURBANK, Calif. – October 4, 2011 – On the heels of the phenomenal success of The Lion King 3D – which will cross the $80 million mark at the domestic box office today – The Walt Disney Studios has announced limited theatrical engagements for four of its classic films for the first time in 3D. The following titles from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios will be released in 2012 and 2013:

* Beauty and the Beast – January 13, 2012
* Disney•Pixar’s Finding Nemo – September 14, 2012

* Disney•Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. – January 18, 2013 (Monsters University, a prequel to the original film, arrives in theaters in Disney Digital 3D on June 21, 2013)

* The Little Mermaid – September 13, 2013

“Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both,” said Alan Bergman, President, The Walt Disney Studios. “We’re thrilled to give audiences of all ages the chance to experience these beloved tales in an exciting new way with 3D – and in the case of younger generations, for the first time on the big screen.”

*sigh* The “big screen” is what’s drawing audiences, not the 3D, I suspect. But who cares? There’s money to made, and we probably can’t stop it.

Has the surprising success of ‘The Lion King in 3D’ opened Pandora’s box office?

Are we going to see a mad rush by all the studios to convert old — and not so old — movies to 3D and get them back out in multiplexes? (Should we brace ourselves for Gone with the Wind in 3D? Casablanca in 3D? Transformers in, dear god, 3D?) Would that be an entirely bad thing? Would it be better if we just got unconverted classics back on a big screen? What have we wrought by enjoying The Lion King again?

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Broadway Tickets
Mon, Dec 17, 2012 7:49am

I can only wish I was sufficiently clairvoyant to know whether a lack
of collective shame on the part of the studio could possibly have
anything to do with the quality of the movie itself.