Hollywood’s 3D redos are re-writing box office history.
By the end of Friday, Fox’s “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” with a lifetime gross of $456 million as of Wednesday, will become the highest-grossing PG-rated film of all time, surpassing the original “Star Wars” at $460 million (not accounting for inflation).
“Episode I” bowed last weekend for the first time in 3D, collecting a better-than-expected $22.5 million. Pic’s 3D version enters the weekend with $25.2 million.
“The Lion King,” meanwhile, nabbed the G-rated crown from “Toy Story 3” last year. Here’s how that 3D shake-up shakes out:
Disney launched its 3D “Lion King” to a boffo Stateside tally of $94 million. Added to the film’s large-format (including Imax) re-release in 2002, which totaled $15.7 million, “The Lion King” has cumed a grand U.S. total of $423 million. “Toy Story 3” ended with $415 million.
Records aside, these 3D redos have become a tidy way for studios to boost their bottom line. Disney bowed last month “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D, with the pic approaching $50 million for a theatrical lifetime domestic cume of $217 million. The Mouse currently has in the pipeline three more conversions slated for this year and next, including “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “The Little Mermaid.”
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Up next is James Cameron’s 3D treatment of “Titanic,” which Paramount is releasing on April 4. It would need to make $160 milllion Stateside to reclaim its all-time box office crown from “Avatar” — which seems doable, given the frenzy it created when it was originally released in 1997.