A 3-D release of animated classic “The Lion King” ruled the domestic weekend box office by trouncing virus thriller “Contagion” and three newcomers, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters yesterday.

“The Lion King 3-D” sold a stronger-than-expected $29.3 million over three days at U.S. and Canadian theaters. Originally released in 1994, the Walt Disney Co. film is one of the top-grossing animated movies of all time.

Thriller “Contagion,” about the race to stop a deadly virus as it circles the globe, finished second with $14.5 million. Third place went to action flick “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling, with $11 million. Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc., released “Contagion.” “Drive” was released by FilmDistrict.

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