American Gangster

Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (Universal) has blown the doors off of America’s multiplexes with a spectacular estimated opening day of $16.5M. The Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe action thriller will win the weekend easily, but it’s no easy task to project a final 3-day number.

Two studios are currently calling for a finish in the high $40M’s, and I’m calling for a $47.7M weekend, but, $50M is possible. The 160-minute running time is a real handicap for Gangster. If an exhibitor has the movie on a single screen, they get 4 prime showtimes and one late show – for example 11:45a, 3:00p, 6:15p, 9:30p, 12:30a – and only the heartiest moviegoers tackle an epic like this at a midnight screening. If the well-reviewed Oscar contender misses $50M on opening weekend, it’ll be the length of the movie not the R-rating that’s responsible.

As far as R-rated films go, American Gangster will be one of the best openings ever. If the $47.7M number holds, Gangster will be the 7th-best all-time.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 OPENINGS FOR R-RATED FILMS
1. The Matrix Reloaded – $91.7M opening
2. The Passion of the Christ – $83.8M opening
3. 300 – $70.8M opening
4. Hannibal – $58M opening
5. 8 Mile – $51.2M opening
6. The Matrix Revolutions – $48.4M opening
7. American Gangster – $47.7M opening (estimated)
8. American Pie II – $45.1M opening
9. Red Dragon – $36.5M opening
10. Freddy vs. Jason – $36.4M opening

This will likely mark the 2nd-best opening in director Ridley Scott’s career, trailing only his 2001 movie Hannibal, and Gangster will be all-time bests for both Washington (exceeding last year’s Inside Man at $28.9M) and Crowe (topping Gladiator, which opened with $34.8M).

Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) will finish a very strong #2 for the weekend after buzzing to an estimated $11M on Friday. My 3-day number is $39M, but I suspect that the animated flick may still reach $40M. By the end of the weekend, Bee Movie will have delivered one of the top 20 animated openings of all time.

ALL-TIME TOP 20 OPENINGS FOR ANIMATED FILMS
1. Shrek the Third – $121.6M opening
2. Shrek 2 – $108M opening
3. The Simpsons Movie – $74M opening
4. The Incredibles – $70.4M opening
5. Finding Nemo – $70.2M opening
6. Ice Age: The Meltdown – $68M opening
7. Monsters Inc. – $62.5M opening
8. Cars – $60.1M opening
9. Toy Story 2 – $57.3M opening
10. Shark Tale – $47.6M opening
11. Madagascar – $47.2M opening
12. Ratatouille – $47M opening
13. Ice Age – $46.3M opening
14. Shrek – $42.3M opening
15. Happy Feet – $41.5M opening
16. The Lion King – $40.8M opening
17. Chicken Little – $40M opening
18. Bee Movie – $39M (estimated)
19. Dinosaur – $38.8M opening
20. Over the Hedge – $38.4M opening

For Dreamworks, Jerry’s Bee will likely be their 6th-best animated opening, trailing the 3 Shrek movies, Shark Tale and Madagascar, but a tick better than last year’s Over the Hedge.

New Line has launched yet another bomb into the marketplace. Martian Child, starring John Cusack, managed only $1.1M on Friday, and it’s doomed to a 3-day of $3.2M or so. That’s a miserable $1,584 per theatre average on 2,000+ screens.

The news is better for Thinkfilm, which has expanded Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead to 43 locations. With Oscar caliber performances from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, Devil is headed for a weekend take of over $380,000 and a likely PTA of $8,977.

2 new documentaries opened with some degree of success on Friday. Both Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) and Don Cheadle’s Darfur Now (Warner Independent) grabbed about $2,900 per screen on Friday. I suspect that Darfur will hold slightly better through the weekend for a 3rd place PTA finish with just over $10,000 per for the 3-day.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – $16.5M – $5,403 PTA – $16.5M cume
2. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $11M – $2,800 PTA – $11M cume
3. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $4M – $1,257 PTA – $44M cume
4. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $2.6M – $1,351 PTA – $17.4M cume
5. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $1.2M – $457 PTA – $31.4M cume
6. The Game Plan (Disney) – $1.15M – $404 PTA – $79.2M cume
7. NEW- Martian Child (New Line) – $1.1M – $545 PTA – $1.1M cume
8. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $800,000 – $380 PTA – $31M cume
9. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $750,000 – $535 PTA – $49.2M cume
10. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $600,000 – $371 PTA – $13.1M cume
11. The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $430,000 – $263 PTA – $10.8M cume
12. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $400,000 – $712 PTA – $70.7M cume
*We Own the Night (Sony) – $365,000 – $223 PTA – $26.6M cume
* Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $325,000 – $528 PTA – $7.1M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $300,000 – $365 PTA – $20.1M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $295,000- $447 PTA – $9.9M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $230,000 – $1,237 PTA – $1.8M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $215,000 – $670 PTA – $1.8M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $104,900 – $2,440 PTA – $219,128 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $89,232 – $731 PTA – $3.1M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $53,400 – $252 PTA – $3.1M cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $37,947 – $1,650 PTA – $265,326 cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $29,024 – $191 PTA – $318.8M cume
*Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $19,056 – $209 PTA – $134,317 cume
*NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $8,697 – $2,899 PTA – $8,697 cume
*Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (Sony Classics) – $7,365 – $567 PTA – $23,974 cume
*NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $5,884 – $2,942 PTA – $5,884 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES
1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – $47.7M – $15,619 PTA – $47.7M cume
2. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $39M – $9,929 PTA – $39M cume
3. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $11.4M – $3,582 PTA – $51.4M cume
4. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $8.06M – $4,187 PTA – $22.8M cume
5. The Game Plan (Disney) – $4M – $1,406 PTA – $82.1M cume
6. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $3.3M – $1,256 PTA – $33.5M cume
7. NEW – Martian Child (New Line) – $3.2M – $1,584 PTA – $3.2M cume
8. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $2.527M – $1,801 PTA – $50.9M cume
9. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $2.52M – $1,196 PTA – $32.8M cume
10. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $1.99M – $1,236 PTA – $14.5M cume
11. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $1.44M – $2,562 PTA – $71.8M cume
12. The Comebacks (Fox Atomic) – $1.33M – $817 PTA – $11.7M cume
*We Own the Night (Sony) – $1.16M- $715 PTA – $27.4M cume
* Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $1M – $1,638 PTA – $7.8M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $982,350 – $1,488 PTA – $10.5M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $930,000 – $1,131 PTA – $20.7M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $747,500- $4,019 PTA – $2.3M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $715,950 – $2,230 PTA – $2.3M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $386,030 – $8,977 PTA – $500,258 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $318,557 – $2,611 PTA – $3.3M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $173,551 – $819 PTA – $3.2M cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $119,913 – $5,214 PTA – $347,292 cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $107,388 – $707 PTA – $318.9M cume
*Wristcutters: A Love Story (After Dark) – $66,316 – $729 PTA – $181,577 cume
*NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $30,005 – $10,002 PTA – $30,005 cume
*Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains (Sony Classics) – $27,617- $2,124 PTA – $44,226 cume
*NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $19,417 – $9,709 PTA – $19,417 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – 3,054 locations – $5,403 PTA
2. NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – 2 locations – $2,942 PTA
3. NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – 3 locations – $2,899 PTA
4. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,928 locations – $2,800
5. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 43 locations – $2,440 PTA
6. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 23 locations – $1,650 PTA
7. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – 1,925 locations – $1,351 PTA
8. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – 3,183 locations – $1,257 PTA
9. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – 186 locations – $1,237 PTA
10. Lust, Caution (Focus) – 122 locations – $733 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – American Gangster (Universal) – 3,054 locations – $15,619 PTA
2. NEW – Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – 3 locations – $10,002 PTA
3. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,928 locations – $9,929 PTA
4. NEW – Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – 2 locations – $9,709 PTA
5. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 43 locations – $8,977 PTA
6. Control (MGM/Weinstein) – 23 locations – $5,214 PTA
7. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – 1,925 locations – $4,187 PTA
8. Bella (Roadside Attractions) – 186 locations – $4,019 PTA
9. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – 3,183 locations – $3,582 PTA
10. Lust, Caution (Focus) – 122 locations – $2,611 PTA

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