In Friday's Oscar Talk podcast I told Anne I thought "Moneyball" would struggle to beat out "The Lion King 3D" at the box office this weekend. I thought it would pull it out, but I just expected it to be a struggle. Well, turns out it was a struggle indeed, as Disney's re-release took the top spot ($22.1 million) for a second weekend in a row, inching past Bennett Miller's debuting Oscar hopeful ($20.6 million) in the process.

"Moneyball" was tops on Friday, but kid-friendly movies tend to get a big bump on Saturdays, so that's what happened for "The Lion King 3D." It'll be interesting to see if Brad Pitt -- who always does well overseas -- can make baseball play in foreign markets.

Also opening this weekend were "Dolphin Tale" ($20.2 million) and "Abduction." ($11.2 million) The former actually almost dropped "Moneyball" to third place. I haven't seen either (and likely won't), so, I won't comment.

Other bits worth noting: "The Help" ($4.4 million) breezed past the $150 million mark, maintain yet another strong hold. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is closing in on $175 million for the year, while "Midnight in Paris" is doing the same for $55 million. And if you haven't noticed, outside of his bang-up year in 2000 ("Erin Brockovich" and "Traffic") and the "Ocean's" franchise, "Contagion" is Steven Soderbergh's highest grossing film to date.

Here is HitFix's Gregory Ellwood on this week's box office.

Weekend of Friday, September 23, 2011

 

(Courtesy: Exhibitor Relations)