Beowulf Box Office

The $150M-budgeted 3D spectacle Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) has opened respectably, but its place in film history won’t be determined by box office alone.

The motion-capture epic from Robert Zemeckis generated an estimated $10.4M on its opening day, and it will likely top out a tick over $30M for the weekend. Two thirds of the budget was provided by political activist Steve Bing’s Shangri-La Entertainment, so it’s a low-risk proposition for Dreamworks/Paramount and Warner Bros, which owns international distribution rights. With the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday next week, if there is positive word-of-mouth, it’s likely that Beowulf will hit $75M domestic in its first 10 days. Even if the film doesn’t ultimately make back its budget in US box office, its $450M international break-even should be easily attainable.

Maybe more importantly, Beowulf is likely the future of the film business…or at least a significant part of the future. A surprising number of America’s multiplexes raced to install digital projection and 3D systems from either Dolby or Real D in the last few months. When the dust had settled and Beowulf finally premiered to sneak audiences Thursday night, 600+ traditional theatre locations offered at least 1 screen in 3D and another 120 or so IMAX locations were in 3D. Anyone who sees the presentation in all 3 of its possible dimensions will agree that the movie business is headed in Beowulf’s direction.

In January, National Geographic will release U2 3D, a concert documentary that follows Bono and the legendary rock band on its 2006 Vertigo Tour. Also next year, a 3D version of the classic Journey to the Center of the Earth (New Line) will hit theatres. In 2009, Dreamworks Animation will release Monsters vs. Aliens, and Jeffrey Katzenberg has announced that all future Dreamworks animated films will be in 3D. James Cameron’s Avatar (Fox) is also due in ’09. By 2010, there will be 10-20 big budget 3D films in wide release.

American Gangster (Universal) and Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) were #2-#3 on Friday, but Seinfeld’s animated flick should win the weekend with a likely $13.5M compared to $12.9M for Ridley Scott’s action blockbuster. Denzel, Russ and Ridley will pass $100M domestic sometime on Sunday, and Bee Movie will have banked about $93M by Monday morning.

Holdover Fred Claus (Warner Bros) and Fox’s poorly-received Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium will battle for #4. I’m estimating that Fred has grabbed $3.14M on Friday, which should translate to a likely $10.37M. Meanwhile, Magorium appears to have finished just under $3.1M on its opening day, and will probably just clear $10M for the weekend.

The other wide release is Mike Newell’s adaptation of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel Love in the Time of Cholera, which appears to be another in a long line of New Line misses. Despite Oscar nominee Javier Bardem in the lead role, Cholera managed only $580,000 on its opening day, and it’s headed for a 10th-place finish with $1.85M or so.

Bardem’s other film, the spectacularly-reviewed No Country for Old Men (Miramax) from the Coen Brothers, is a sensation. Despite expanding to only 148 screens, the movie finished #8 on Friday with $750,000, a $5,068 PTA. For the weekend, No Country will surpass $2.8M for the 2nd-best PTA of the 3-day at just over $19,000.

Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage), starring Nicole Kidman and Jack Black, premiered on 2 screens on Friday, and it is an arthouse blockbuster with $13,647 per location. The black comedy’s weekend PTA will likely reach $50,000, setting up a Thanksgiving expansion.

IDP Films and Magnolia have met with far less success for their new specialty releases. Richard Kelly has followed up the cult classic Donnie Darko with Southland Tales, and it’ll manage only a $2,233 weekend PTA at its 63 locations. Brian DePalma’s controversial Redacted will deliver an even softer $1,666 on just 13 screens.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $10.4M – $3,300 PTA – $10.4M cume
2. American Gangster (Universal) – $3.8M – $1,222 PTA – $91.5M cume
3. Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $3.43M – $862 PTA – $82.9M cume
4. Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – $3.14M – $873 PTA – $26.9M cume
5. NEW – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Fox) – $3.08M – $975 PTA – $3.08M
6. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $1.4M – $738 PTA – $33.9M cume
7. Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – $800,000 – $361 PTA – $9.4M cume
8. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $750,000 – $5,068 PTA – $2.5M
9. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $745,000 – $355 PTA – $60.2M cume
10. NEW – Love in the Time of Cholera (New Line) – $580,000 – $675 PTA – $580,000 cume
11. The Game Plan (Disney) – $330,000 – $240 PTA – $86.5M cume
12. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $290,000 – $317 PTA – $38.4M cume
13. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $285,000 – $410 PTA – $36.4M cume
14. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $265,000 – $581 PTA – $4.3M cume
15. P2 (Summit Pictures) – $250,000 – $129 PTA – $3M cume
16. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $235,000 – $374 PTA – $53.8M cume
17. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $225,000 – $425 PTA – $17.8M cume
18. Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $215,000- $421 PTA – $13.2M cume
19. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – $210,000 – $1,842 PTA – $1.5M cume
20. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $175,000 – $1,000 PTA – $1.7M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $170,000 – $366 PTA – $22.9M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $148,000 – $607 PTA – $3.7M cume
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $146,000 – $512 PTA – $9.8M cume
*Martian Child (New Line) – $130,000 – $174 PTA – $6.8M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $105,000 – $1,250 PTA – $3.7M cume
*NEW – Southland Tales (IDP Films) – $42,000 – $664 PTA – $42,000 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $41,000 – $532 PTA – $3.9M cume
*Saawariya (Sony) – $39,000 – $459 PTA – $693,000 cume
*NEW – Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – $27,294 – $13,647 PTA – $27,294 cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $11,978 – $444 PTA – $597,000 cume
*NEW – Redacted (Magnolia) – $6,279 – $483 PTA – $6,279 cume
*Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $5,629 – $433 PTA – $125,700 cume
*War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – $4,743 – $1,581 PTA – $25,900 cume
*Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $4,534 – $252 PTA – $73.4M cume
*NEW – What Would Jesus Buy? (Independent) – $3,284 – $3,284 PTA – $3,284 cume
*Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $2,486 – $113 PTA – $80,600 cume
*NEW – Smiley Face (First Look) – $1,971 – $1,971 PTA – $1,971 cume
*The Life of Reilly (Reel Diva Consultants) – $1,941 – $485 PTA – $6,170 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $30.17M – $9,570 PTA – $30.17M cume
2. Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $13.5M – $3,389 PTA – $93M cume
3. American Gangster (Universal) – $12.9M – $4,148 PTA – $100.6M cume
4. Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – $10.37M – $2,880 PTA – $34.1M cume
5. NEW – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Fox) – $10.02M – $3,169 PTA – $10.02M
6. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $4.56M – $2,400 PTA – $37.1M cume
7. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $2.81M – $19,003 PTA – $4.64M
8. Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – $2.56M – $1,155 PTA – $11.2M cume
9. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $2.34M – $1,119 PTA – $61.8M cume
10. NEW – Love in the Time of Cholera (New Line) – $1.85M – $2,178 PTA – $1.85M cume
11. The Game Plan (Disney) – $1.18M – $865 PTA – $87.3M cume
12. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $1.04M – $1,497 PTA – $37.1M cume
13. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $993,750 – $2,179 PTA – $5M cume
14. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $942,500 – $1,030 PTA – $39.1M cume
15. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $846,000 – $1,345 PTA – $54.4M cume
16. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $810,000 – $1,528 PTA – $18.4M cume
17. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – $766,500 – $6,724 PTA – $2M cume
18. Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $731,000- $1,431 PTA – $13.7M cume
19. P2 (Summit Pictures) – $725,000 – $374 PTA – $3.4M cume
20. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $673,750 – $3,850 PTA – $2.1M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $561,000 – $1,209 PTA – $23.3M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $503,200 – $2,062 PTA – $4.1M cume
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $474,500 – $1,665 PTA – $10.1M cume
*Martian Child (New Line) – $448,500 – $600 PTA – $7.1M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $341,250 – $4,063 PTA – $3.9M cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $143,500 – $1,864 PTA – $4M cume
*NEW – Southland Tales (IDP Films) – $140,700 – $2,233 PTA – $140,700 cume
*Saawariya (Sony) – $140,400 – $1,652 PTA – $795,000 cume
*NEW – Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – $105,082 – $52,541 PTA – $105,082 cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $41,326 – $1,531 PTA – $627,000 cume
*NEW – Redacted (Magnolia) – $21,663 – $1,666 PTA – $21,663 cume
*Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $18,294 – $1,407 PTA – $139,000 cume
*War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – $14,230 – $4,743 PTA – $35,418 cume
*Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $14,964 – $831 PTA – $73.5M cume
*NEW – What Would Jesus Buy? (Independent) – $9,852 – $9,852 PTA – $9,852 cume
*Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $7,955 – $362 PTA – $86,000 cume
*NEW – Smiley Face (First Look) – $6,800 – $6,800 PTA – $6,800 cume
*The Life of Reilly (Reel Diva Consultants) – $6,503 – $1,626 PTA – $10,732 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. NEW – Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – 2 locations – $13,647 PTA
2. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – 148 locations – $5,068 PTA
3. NEW – Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,153 locations – $3,300 PTA
4. NEW – What Would Jesus Buy? (Independent) – 1 location – $3,284 PTA
5. NEW – Smiley Face (First Look) – 1 location – $1,971 PTA
6. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – 114 locations – $1,842 PTA
7. War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – 3 locations – $1,581 PTA
8. The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – 84 locations – $1,250 PTA
9. American Gangster (Universal) – 3,110 locations – $1,222 PTA
10. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 175 locations – $1,000 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. NEW – Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage) – 2 locations – $52,541 PTA
2. No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – 148 locations – $19,003 PTA
3. NEW – What Would Jesus Buy? (Independent) – 1 location – $9,852 PTA
4. NEW – Beowulf (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,153 locations – $9,570 PTA
5. NEW – Smiley Face (First Look) – 1 location – $6,800 PTA
6. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – 114 locations – $6,724 PTA
7. War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – 3 locations – $4,743 PTA
8. American Gangster (Universal) – 3,110 locations – $4,148 PTA
9. The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – 84 locations – $4,063 PTA
10. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 175 locations – $3,850 PTA

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