Weekend Wrap-Up for November2-4, 2007

Top Heavy Box Office Excited By Gangster, Bee Movie

By John Hamann

November 4, 2007

I thought this was a no smoking establishment!

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Reviews for American Gangster were good but not fantastic, but I still believe a long successful run and an Oscar nomination for Washington are in this film's future. At RottenTomatoes, 123 reviewers had chimed in at the time of this writing, and 97 gave it a thumbs up, leading to a fresh rating of 79%. Universal made this one for $100 million, and should have no problem earning their investment back.

Finishing second is Bee Movie, Jerry Seinfeld's return to mainstream entertainment. Bee Movie was solid for Paramount and DreamWorks, earning $39.1 million, right around where tracking expectations were. Paramount put its Bee Movie out to a huge amount of venues - 3,928 - and saw a resulting venue average of $9,954. Seinfeld is the star of this show, taking credits for acting in, producing and writing Bee Movie. The pressure was certainly on, as this animated feature carried a price tag of $150 million. Will a $39.1 million opening be enough to take this one to the $150 million mark? Maybe. Over the Hedge, the Paramount animated release that debuted in May 2006 opened to $38.5 million and finished with about $155 million domestic, before earning another $180 million overseas. Over the Hedge certainly reviewed better than Bee Movie, as the Bruce Willis starrer earned a fresh rating of 74%, where Bee Movie is only 53% fresh, with 47 positive reviews out of a possible 88 at this point. The competition is going to stack up against Bee Movie in the weeks to come. In the next frame we get the live action Fred Claus with Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti. The following weekend brings Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, which is followed by the Disney movie Enchanted. It will be very interesting to see how it all turns out for Bee Movie, Seinfeld and company.


Finishing third is Saw IV, but instead of the characters getting butchered in the second weekend, it's the audience that got the chop. After opening to a respectable $31.8 million last weekend, Saw IV plummeted a severe 65%, earning only $11 million. Saw III dropped 56% heading into its second frame, so we are seeing even more signs that the shine is coming off the Saw. Currently, the fourth in the franchise film has earned $51.1 million.

Dan in Real Life gets some better news this weekend, as the Steve Carell flick doesn't fall off the face of the earth. Dan in Real Life earned $8.1 million, off an okay 31%. Disney chose to only add a handful of venues to Dan's count, leaving it with fewer than 2,000 venues and an average of $3,459. So far, Dan In Real Life has earned $23 million.

The rest of the top ten is a significant disaster, and only highlights the nastiness we have seen over the last two months at the box office. Finishing fifth is 30 Days of Night, the cool-looking but ultimately only so-so flick from Sony. The Josh Hartnett release earned $4 million and was off 42%. At least Sony recouped its $30 million budget domestically, as 30 Days of Night has now earned $34.1 million.

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