Blame (or thank) Simba. In the wake of the success of “The Lion King 3D,” which has earned $80 million in the U.S. in the last three and a half weeks, Disney has announced theatrical re-releases for four of its animated catalog titles in 3-D — “Beauty and the Beast,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.” and “The Little Mermaid.”
The four films will unspool over the next two years, beginning in January with “Beauty and the Beast,” the 1991 hit that became the first animated film to be nominated for an Oscar for best picture. “Finding Nemo,” first released in 2003 and the fourth-highest-grossing animated movie of all time, will follow in 3-D in September 2012. “Monsters Inc.” (2001) will premiere in 3-D in January 2013, six months ahead of its own prequel, “Monsters University,” a new Pixar film due in June of that year. Finally, “The Little Mermaid” will debut in September 2013.
“The Lion King,” a 1994 film that Disney converted to 3-D for less than $10 million and re-released in September as part of a promotional push for its October Blu-ray release, became a surprise hit for the studio, beating out new releases to become the No. 1 movie two weeks in a row. The re-release has made "Lion King" the third-highest-grossing animated movie of all time domestically, with a haul of more than $408 million.
“Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both,” Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios, said 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 3-D –- and in the case of younger generations, for the first time on the big screen.”