Box Office Guru

Box Office Guru Wrapup: Bee Movie Jumps Into #1 Spot

Insects and gangsters switch places.

by | November 11, 2007 | Comments

Three new releases failed to steal attention away from last weekend’s top two
films which continued to rule the North American box office swapping chart
positions in the process. Jerry Seinfeld’s animated hit
enjoyed the better hold and jumped into first place while the
crime drama
American Gangster

suffered a moderate decline and claimed the runnerup position. Ticket buyers
have spent nearly $153M on the duo over the past ten days. Among newcomers, the
Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

starring Vince
generated respectable results while
Tom Cruise
suffered his worst opening in twenty-one years with the political drama
Lions for Lambs

which finshed a weak fourth for the frame. The overall marketplace struggled
once again as for the first time in five years, a November top ten failed to
break the $100M mark.

Paramount and DreamWorks missed out on a top spot debut last weekend with their
new toon Bee
but this time they managed to grab the number one slot. The
PG-rated film slipped 32% and collected an estimated $26M boosting the ten-day
tally to a robust $72.2M. Though a good hold, especially with the opening of
rival family flick Fred Claus, the decline was somewhat larger than the
drops of other recent animated kidpics that bowed on the first weekend of
November. Last year,
Flushed Away
dipped by only 12%, 2005’s
Chicken Little

slid just 21%, and 2004’s
The Incredibles

dropped 29%. The Veterans Day holiday was observed on a Friday last year giving
a large number of school children a day off which helped deliver the sensational
hold of Flushed. This year, the holiday will be observed on Monday when
Bee is still expected to score solid results. Look for the insect pic to reach
the neighborhood of $120M domestically with international prospects also looking

Dropping an understandable 44% to second place was former champ
American Gangster

with an estimated $24.3M in its sophomore frame. After only ten days, Universal
has shot up a remarkable $80.7M and has already surpassed the total grosses of
most of Washington’s previous films. Gangster currently ranks as the
fifth biggest
pic ever behind
Remember the
The Pelican Brief

($100.8M), Crimson
($91.4M), and
Inside Man

($88.5M). The
Ridley Scott-directed
drama also stands as the fourth highest grossing film in Russell
‘s career after

($187.7M), A
Beautiful Mind
($170.7M), and

Master and Commander
($93.9M). At its current pace, American Gangster
should find its way to $130-140M from North America making it the studio’s third
biggest hit of 2007 after
The Bourne Ultimatum

and Knocked Up.
End-of-year awards attention could send it higher though.

Opening in third place was the Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

which took in an estimated $19.2M from an ultrawide release in 3,603 locations.
Averaging a mediocre $5,336 per site, the PG-rated flick about Santa’s older
brother stars
Vince Vaughn
Paul Giamatti
and played to a family audience. The Warner Bros. release is one of only two
films this year to launch in more than 3,500 theaters and fail to gross at least
$30M on opening weekend. The other was the animated penguin pic
Surf’s Up
debuted to $17.6M in June. Instead, Fred performed in line with last
November’s yuletide laugher The
Santa Clause 3

which bowed to $19.5M on its way to a $84.5M final.

Tom Cruise
suffered one of the worst opening weekends of his career with the poor turnout
for his political drama
Lions for Lambs

which stumbled into fourth place with an estimated $6.7M. The R-rated pic
also stars
Robert Redford
Meryl Streep.
Lions averaged a feeble $3,029 from 2,215 theaters and was panned by most
critics. Despite the starpower, bad reviews and the subject matter which dealt
with war in the Middle East helped to repel paying customers.

Excluding 1999’s
in which Cruise had a supporting role, Lions attracted
the smallest debut for the actor since Ridley Scott’s
opened with just $4.3M in 1986. It also ended the star’s streak of thirteen consecutive number one openings over fifteen years and is guaranteed to stop his industry-leading streak of seven straight years of having $100M+ grossers. The Redford project marked the first film for United Artists which is now run by Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner. Parent company MGM took distribution duties in North America with Fox handling the release in the rest of the world where the film also launched this weekend to mixed results.

In its third weekend, the Steve Carell dramedy
Dan in Real Life

dipped only 25% to an estimated $5.9M and lifted its total to a respectable
$30.7M for Buena Vista. The horror sequel
Saw IV
tumbled 52%
to an estimated $5M putting its sum at $58.1M for Lionsgate. Family hit
The Game Plan

took in an estimated $2.4M, off 39%, and reached $85.4M making it the
top-grossing film since the summer movie season ended.

The woman-in-peril thriller
debuted poorly in
eighth with an estimated $2.2M from 2,131 locations for a pitiful $1,032
average. The R-rated film about a workaholic stalked by a killer in a parking
garage on Christmas Eve is the first release from Summit Entertainment which was
testing its distribution operation ahead of its real slate of films which will
hit theaters in 2008.

Vampires and martians rounded out the top ten. The horror flick

30 Days of Night

grossed an estimated $2.1M, down 44%, and placed ninth. Cume is $37.4M for Sony.
New Line’s
John Cusack
drama Martian
fell a troubling 48% in its second weekend to an estimated
$1.8M. The New Line release has collected only $6M in ten days and should end up
with a weak $9-10M.

Three modestly-budgeted films were bumped out of the top ten this weekend.
George Clooney‘s
legal thriller
Michael Clayton
dipped 40% to an estimated $1.7M bringing its cume
to a decent $35.6M. The $22M film should find its way to about $40M for Warner
Bros., but has the chance to go higher if it scores some major award

Miramax generated a sizzling debut for
No Country for
Old Men
, the newest film from the Coen Brothers. The R-rated entry
grossed an estimated $1.2M while playing in only 28 theaters for a sensational
average of $42,929 per site. Co-produced by Paramount Vantage, it will expand to
more markets on Friday.

Tyler Perry’s latest hit
Did I Get Married?
grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 38%, and boosted
its total to an impressive $53.3M. The profitable $15M Lionsgate title looks to
end with roughly $57M. It’s been a tougher road for Miramax’s crime drama Gone
Baby Gone
which took in an estimated $1.5M, down 33%, giving
Ben Affleck‘s
directorial debut only $17.1M to date. Produced for $19M, the
Casey AffleckMorgan
drama should end its run with about $22M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $95.6M which was down 10% from last
year when Borat
remained in first place with $28.3M; and down 11% from 2005 when Chicken
stayed in the top spot with $31.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya,