American Gangster

It appears that American Gangster (Universal) is the weekend movie with the most “sting.” The searing epic, from director Ridley Scott and starring Oscar winners Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, got a nice 12% bump from its opening day for a second day haul of $17.69M. I’m plugging in a Sunday drop of 23%, which would translate to a spectacular weekend of $46.41M. That makes Gangster the all-time 2nd-best opener for Ridley Scott and sets new high-water marks for both Washington and Crowe. It also gives the well-reviewed Oscar contender the all-time 8th-best opening for an R-rated film.

My sources tell me that exit surveys show that audiences love the movie. Given its 160-minute length and the fact that that older audiences don’t rush out on opening weekend to see a new film, American Gangster should have excellent “legs.” If the film manages to earn Golden Globe and Oscar nominations in multiple categories, that will boost business through the holidays and into the new year. Universal could expect as much as $175M-$185M in domestic business, which would make Gangster one of the all-time top 10 grossing R-rated films.

Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) was narrowly edged for #2 on Saturday adding $17.13M, but the folks at Jeffrey’s animation house must be fairly satisfied, though not overjoyed, with an opening weekend of $39.33M.

The Jerry Seinfeld-inspired animated tale has grabbed the all-time 18th-best opening for an animated film (for a complete list, see my Friday report), but Bee Movie is only the 6th-best opening for an animated film from Dreamworks.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 DREAMWORKS ANIMATED OPENINGS
1. Shrek the Third – $121.6M opening
2. Shrek 2 – $108M opening
3. Shark Tale – $47.6M opening
4. Madagascar – $47.2M opening
5. Shrek – $42.3M opening
6. Bee Movie – $39.33M (estimated)
7. Over the Hedge – $38.4M opening
8. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron – $17.7M opening
9. Chicken Run – $17.5M opening
10. Antz – $17.1M opening

I suspect this latest Dreamworks picture will have less-than-sturdy legs, and, with family fare like Fred Claus (Warner Bros) and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Fox) on the way this month, Bee Movie may be limited to an upper limit of something in the $140M-$150M range.

Saw IV (Lionsgate) generated just over $5M on Saturday and should reach $11.34M for the weekend, climbing past the $50M mark. Steve Carell’s Dan in Real Life (Disney) was 4th on Saturday, with an estimated $3.64M, and #4 for the weekend, with a solid $8.7M or so. The Game Plan (Disney) managed yet another Saturday surge with nearly $2M, and the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vehicle should hit $4M for the weekend, topping $80M domestic.

New Line continues its recent losing streak with Martian Child starring John Cusack. The warm-hearted drama scored a lukewarm $1.48M on Saturday, and it’s headed for a soft 3-day of $3.4M.
The ageless Sidney Lumet has another hit on his hands. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm), starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, has expanded to 43 locations with excellent results. The caper film delivered an estimated $465,000 over the weekend for the #2 weekend PTA at $10,812.

Don Cheadle’s Darfur Now (Warner Independent) is off to a slow start with only the 5th-best 3-day PTA. Its 2 runs scored just $8,538 per, trailing IFC Films’ new doc Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten at a PTA of $9,870.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY SATURDAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – $17.69M – $5,794 PTA – $33.49M cume
2. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $17.13M – $4,363 PTA – $27.33M cume
3. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $5.05M – $1,588 PTA – $48.7M cume
4. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $3.64M – $1,895 PTA – $21M cume
5. The Game Plan (Disney) – $1.94M – $685 PTA – $81M cume
6. NEW- Martian Child (New Line) – $1.48M – $734 PTA – $2.55M cume
7. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $1.44M – $552 PTA – $32.7M cume
8. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $1.32M – $630 PTA – $32.4M cume
9. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $1.3M – $931 PTA – $50.4M cume
10. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $1M – $618 PTA – $14.1M cume
11. The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $695,000 – $426 PTA – $11.5M cume
12. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $660,000 – $1,174 PTA – $71.4M cume
*We Own the Night (Sony) – $550,000 – $337 PTA – $27.2M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $450,000 – $547 PTA – $20.5M cume
* Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $445,000 – $724 PTA – $7.5M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $440,000- $667 PTA – $10.3M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $355,000 – $1,909 PTA – $2.1M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $310,000 – $966 PTA – $2.1M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $200,000 – $4,651 PTA – $419,128 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $140,000 – $1,148 PTA – $3.2M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $80,000 – $377 PTA – $3.2M cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $60,000 – $395 PTA – $318.9M cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $55,000 – $2,391 PTA – $320,326 cume
*Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $23,000 – $253 PTA – $157,317 cume
*Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (Sony Classics) – $12,667 – $974 PTA – $36,641 cume
*NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $12,437 – $4,146 PTA – $21,134 cume
*NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $8,009 – $4,005 PTA – $13,893 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS REVISED 3-DAY ESTIMATES

1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – $46.41M – $15,198 PTA – $46.41M cume
2. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $39.33M – $10,013PTA – $39.33M cume
3. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $11.34M – $3,563 PTA – $51.3M cume
4. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $8.73M – $4,536 PTA – $23.5M cume
5. The Game Plan (Disney) – $4M – $1,407 PTA – $82.1M cume
6. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $3.53M – $1,348 PTA – $33.7M cume
7. NEW – Martian Child (New Line) – $3.4M – $1,685 PTA – $3.4M cume
8. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $2.85M – $1,354 PTA – $33.1M cume
8. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $2.69M – $1,917 PTA – $51.1M cume
10. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $2.22M – $1,376 PTA – $14.7M cume
11. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $1.48M – $2,641 PTA – $71.8M cume
12. The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $1.45M – $889 PTA – $11.9M cume
*We Own the Night (Sony) – $1.28M- $784 PTA – $27.6M cume
* Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $1.06M – $1,730 PTA – $7.8M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $1.03M – $1,263 PTA – $20.8M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $1.02M – $1,544 PTA – $10.6M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $851,250- $4,577 PTA – $2.4M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $729,600 – $2,273 PTA – $2.3M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $464,900 – $10,812 PTA – $579,128 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $320,232 – $2,625 PTA – $3.3M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $188,600 – $890 PTA – $3.2M
cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $137,497 – $5,978 PTA – $364,876 cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $126,224 – $830 PTA – $318.9M cume
*Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $60,456 – $664 PTA – $175,717 cume
*Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (Sony Classics) – $29,532 – $2,272 PTA – $46,141 cume
*NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $25,613 – $8,538 PTA – $25,613 cume
*NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $19,740 – $9,870 PTA – $19,740 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY SATURDAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – 3,054 locations – $5,794 PTA
2. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 43 locations – $4,651 PTA
3. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,928 locations – $4,363 PTA
4. NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – 2 locations – $4,005 PTA
5. NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – 3 locations – $3,133 PTA
6. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 23 locations – $2,391 PTA
7. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – 186 locations – $1,909 PTA
8. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – 1,925 locations – $1,895 PTA
9. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – 3,183 locations – $1,588 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS REVISED 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES

1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – 3,054 locations – $15,198 PTA
2. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 43 locations – $10,812 PTA
3. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,928 locations – $10,013 PTA
4. NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – 2 locations – $9,870 PTA
5. NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – 3 locations – $8,538 PTA
6. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 23 locations – $5,978 PTA
7. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – 1,925 locations – $4,744 PTA
8. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – 186 locations – $4,577 PTA
9. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – 3,183 locations – $3,563 PTA
10. Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – 562 locations – $2,641 PTA

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