The story of the box office in September was not that 'Warrior' grossed only $1 million more total than 'The Debt' earned over Labor Day weekend, but that 'The Lion King 3D' rerelease was a juggernaut. The Disney reissue topped the box office for two straight weekends in September and has earned $80 million to-date. As a result, this news should come as no surprise: Disney and Disney/Pixar announced plans on Tuesday to re-release four past films in 3D over the next two years.
Per the press release, 'Beauty and the Beast' will be the first classic to get the third dimensional treatment when it hits theaters on Jan. 13, 2012 opposite 'Contraband,' 'Man on Ledge' and 'Premium Rush, three male-heavy actioners inexplicably scheduled for the same weekend. Later next year, Disney/Pixar will release 'Finding Nemo' on Sept. 14, 2012.

Looking ahead, 'Monsters, Inc.' will get a theatrical re-release on Jan. 18, 2013, four months before 'Monsters University' -- the 'Monsters Inc.' prequel -- hits theaters on June 21, 2013. Rounding out the list, 'The Little Mermaid' arrives on Sept. 13, 2013.

"Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we're fortunate to have a treasure trove of both," said Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman in a statement. "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."

Offering younger audiences the chance to experience these favorites in a movie theater is well and good, but it appears Disney has shrewdly taken advantage of what people have known for years: September and January are dead theatrical months and re-issuing beloved classics -- especially ones geared toward kids -- is a surefire way to box office nirvana. With a "treasure trove" of timeless classics, expect this gimmick to extend well past 2013, with other studios jumping into the fray.

[via Press Release]

[Photo: Everett Collection]

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categories Movies