Friday Box Office: Bee Movie the Surprise 3-Day Winner?

Bee Movie

A funny thing happened at America’s multiplexes this weekend. With the industry focused on newcomer Fred Claus (Warner Bros) and the hard-charging holdover American Gangster (Universal) and speculating about how bad it would go for Tom Cruise’s Lions For Lambs (MGM/UA), nobody was paying much attention to Jeff and Jerry’s Bee.

Bee Movie (Dreamworks), the latest flick from the animation house built by Jeffrey Katzenberg, appears to have pulled off a weekend surprise box office win. Ridley Scott’s American Gangster grabbed $7.4M on Friday compared to Bee’s $6.4M to start the weekend. When the kids hit the multiplexes, however, Jerry Seinfeld’s “honey of a movie” should be lifted to an estimated $25.75M, while Gangster will manage a slightly lower $23.31M for the 3-day.

Although Bee is well off-the-blistering pace of previous Dreamworks animated hits like the Madagascar, Shark Tale and the Shreks, its projected 10-day gross is on a par with Over the Hedge.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 DOMESTIC GROSSES FOR
DREAMWORKS ANIMATED FILMS AFTER 10 DAYS OF RELEASE
1. Shrek the Third – $203.3M
2. Shrek 2 – $184.8M
3. Madagascar – $100.3M
4. Shrek – $99M
5. Shark Tale – $87.3M
6. Over the Hedge – $76.1M
7. Bee Movie – $71.9M (estimate)
8. Chicken Run – $41.4M
9. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron $38.7M
10. Antz – $35.6M

Meanwhile, Denzel, Russ and Ridley have likely fueled American Gangster to the all-time 12th-best 10-day gross for an R-rated movie.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 DOMESTIC GROSSES FOR
R-RATED FILMS AFTER 10 DAYS OF RELEASE
1. The Passion of the Christ – $174.3M
2. The Matrix Reloaded – $174.1M
3. 300 – $129.1M
4. Hannibal – $103.5M
5. The Matrix Revolutions – $102.7M
6. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – $90.8M
7. Scary Movie – $89M
8. American Pie 2 – $87.2M
9. 8 Mile – $84.4M
10. Wedding Crashers – $80.3M
11. Air Force One – $80.1M
12. American Gangster – $79.6M (estimate)
13. Gladiator – $73.6M
14. Saving Private Ryan – $73.3M
15. Terminator 2 – $69.6M

There are few “glad tidings” for Warner Bros with their holiday release of Fred Claus. Some analysts were forecasting an opening weekend of $30M+, but in my Final Weekend Tracking column, it was clear that the poorly-reviewed family film wouldn’t hit that orbit (my final prediction was $25.7M). Fred delivered $5.5M on its opening day, which will translate to a #3 weekend finish and an estimated $20.5M 3-day.

Despite a cast that includes Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti and Oscar winners Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates and Rachel Weisz, this was Vince Vaughn’s movie to open, and it will likely mark only the 8th-best opening of his career.

ALL-TIME TOP 10 VINCE VAUGHN OPENINGS
1. The Lost World: Jurassic Park – $72.1M opening
2. Mr. & Mrs. Smith – $50.3M opening
3. The Break-Up – $39.1M opening
4. Wedding Crashers – $33.9M opening
5. DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story – $30M
6. Starsky & Hutch – $28.1M opening
7. Be Cool – $23.4M opening
8. Fred Claus – $20.5M opening (estimate)
9. The Cell – $17.5M opening
10. Old School – $17.4M opening

As expected, Lions for Lambs is a disaster for Tom Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner and the newly-reinvented United Artists. The political thriller has a reported budget of only $35M, but, as I predicted on Wednesday, it won’t make that production budget back in domestic box office. The film rode scathing reviews to a $2.3M Friday, and it’ll reach only $7.2M or so for the weekend, good for only 4th place. If that number holds, it will be only the 17th-best opening of Tom Cruise’s career and his 2nd-worst for a film opening on 1,000+ screens (trailing only 1986’s Legend, which managed just $4.2M on its opening weekend).

On the specialty front, No Country For Old Men (Miramax) from directors Joel and Ethan Coen is an arthouse blockbuster. Opening at 28 locations, the Javier Bardem-Tommy Lee Jones-Josh Brolin thriller generated an estimated $352,000 on Friday for an opening day PTA of $12,539. With spectacular reviews and deafening Oscar buzz, No Country will wrap up the weekend with almost $46,000 per location and a total take of $1.28M.

Generally, I don’t track Bollywood films, but I’m making an exception this weekend for the global releases of Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) and Saawariya (Sony). This is Diwali Hindu New Year weekend, and these are the 2 most-anticipated Bollywood titles of 2007 being released on the same day.

Eros claims that Om Shanti Om is the biggest day-and-date international release in Bollywood history with 2,000 locations worldwide, including 114 American locations. Meanwhile Saawariya, the first Bollywood film to be fully funded by a major US studio, debuted Friday at 1,034 locations and 85 in the US. Om Shanti Om finished #11 domestically on its opening day with about $475,000 and a PTA of $4,150 compared to $146,000 and a $1,688 PTA for Saawariya. The Eros release will dance its way to $1.71M for the weekend and the 2nd-best 3-day PTA at $15,000.

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
1. American Gangster (Universal) – $7.4M – $2,419 PTA – $63.7M cume
2. Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $6.4M – $1,623 PTA – $52.6M cume
3. NEW -Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – $5.5M – $1,527 PTA – $5.5M cume
4. NEW – Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – $2.3M – $1,038 PTA – $2.3M cume
5. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $1.81M – $937 PTA – $26.6M cume
6. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $1.56M – $538 PTA – $54.6M cume
7. The Game Plan (Disney) – $710,000 – $329 PTA – $80.7M cume
8. NEW – P2 (Summit Pictures) – $700,000 – $328 PTA – $700,000 cume
9. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $640,000 – $377 PTA – $35.8M cume
10. Martian Child (New Line) – $545,000 – $270 PTA – $4.8M cume
11. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – $475,000 – $4,150 PTA – $475,000 cume
12. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $455,000 – $396 PTA – $34.3M cume
13. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $410,000 – $428 PTA – $16M cume
14. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $405,000 – $446 PTA – $52M cume
15. NEW – No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $352,000 – $12,539 PTA – $352,000
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $290,000- $492 PTA – $11.7M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $245,000 – $421 PTA – $21.7M cume
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $240,000 – $622 PTA – $8.7M cume
*Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $238,000 – $503 PTA – $72.5M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $208,000 – $754 PTA – $3M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $194,000 – $670 PTA – $2.8M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $163,000 – $1,336 PTA – $781,503 cume
*NEW – After Dark’s Horrorfest (After Dark) – $150,000 – $456 PTA – $150,000
*NEW – Saawariya (Sony) – $146,000 – $1,688 PTA – $146,000
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $54,000 – $486 PTA – $3.5M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $40,000 – $308 PTA – $3.4M cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $29,000 – $191 PTA – $319.1M cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $25,000 – $926 PTA – $479,554 cume
*NEW – War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – $12,300 – $4,100 PTA – $12,300 cume
*Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $12,000 – $500 PTA – $43,337 cume
*Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $8,179 – $511 PTA – $42,991 cume
*NEW – Mr. Blue Sky (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – $990 – $990 PTA – $990 cume
*NEW – The Life of Reilly (Reel Diva Consultants) – $836 – $836 PTA – $836 cume
*NEW – Cocalero (Cinema Tropical) – $741 – $741 PTA – $741 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES
1. Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $25.75M – $6,529 PTA – $71.9M cume
2. American Gangster (Universal) – $23.31M – $7,620 PTA – $79.6M cume
3. NEW -Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – $20.5M – $5,690 PTA – $20.5M cume
4. NEW – Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – $7.2M – $3,251 PTA – $7.2M cume
5. Dan in Real Life (Disney) – $5.63M – $2,904 PTA – $30.4M cume
6. Saw IV (Lionsgate) – $4.53M – $1,561 PTA – $57.6M cume
7. The Game Plan (Disney) – $2.55M – $1,183 PTA – $82.5M cume
8. 30 Days of Night (Sony) – $2.02M – $1,192 PTA – $37.2M cume
9. Martian Child (New Line) – $2.01M – $996 PTA – $6.2M cume
10. NEW – P2 (Summit Pictures) – $2M – $939 PTA – $2M cume
11. Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – $1.71M – $15,000 PTA – $1.71M cume
12. Michael Clayton (Warner Bros) – $1.48M – $1,294 PTA – $35.4M cume
13. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? (Lionsgate) – $1.39M – $1,539 PTA – $53.1M cume
14. Gone Baby Gone (Miramax) – $1.36M – $1,427 PTA – $16.9M cume
15. NEW – No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – $1.28M – $45,886 PTA – $1.28M cume
*Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) – $965,700- $1,637 PTA – $12.4M cume
*Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney) – $844,900 – $1,786 PTA – $73.1M cume
*Across the Universe (Sony) – $808,000 – $1,389 PTA – $22.3M cume
*Bella (Roadside Attractions) – $780,000 – $2,826 PTA – $3.4M cume
*Darjeeling Limited (Fox Searchlight) – $770,400 – $1,996 PTA – $9.2M cume
*Lars & the Real Girl (MGM) – $646,020 – $2,259 PTA – $3.3M cume
*Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – $599,840 – $4,917 PTA – $1.2M cume
*NEW – Saawariya (Sony) – $525,600 – $6,184 PTA – $516,528
*NEW – After Dark’s Horrorfest (After Dark) – $435,000 – $1,347 PTA – $435,000 cume
*Lust Caution (Focus) – $189,000 – $1,703 PTA – $3.6M cume
*The Assassination of Jesse James… (Warner Bros) – $130,000 – $1,000 PTA – $3.5M cume
*Transformers (Dreamworks/Paramount) – $116,000 – $763 PTA – $319.1M cume
*Control (MGM/Weinstein) – $86,250 – $3,194 PTA – $540,804 cume
*NEW – War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – $41,820 – $13,940 PTA – $41,820 cume
*Darfur Now (Warner Independent) – $38,400 – $1,600 PTA – $69,737 cume
*Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten (IFC Films) – $26,990 – $1,687 PTA – $61,802 cume
*NEW – Mr. Blue Sky (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – $3,465 – $3,465 PTA – $3,465 cume
*NEW – The Life of Reilly (Reel Diva Consultants) – $2,926 – $2,926 PTA – $2,926 cume
*NEW – Cocalero (Cinema Tropical) – $2,445 – $2,445 PTA – $2,445 cume

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY FRIDAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – 28 locations – $12,539 PTA
2. NEW – Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – 114 locations – $4,150 PTA
3. NEW – War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – 3 locations – $4,100 PTA
4. American Gangster (Universal) – 3,059 locations – $2,419 PTA
5. NEW – Saawariya (Sony) – 85 locations – $1,688 PTA
6. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,944 locations – $1,623 PTA
7. NEW – Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – 3,603 locations – $1,527 PTA
8. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 122 locations – $1,336 PTA
9. NEW – Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – 2,215 locations – $1,038 PTA
10. NEW – Mr. Blue Sky (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – 1 location – $990 PTA

EXCLUSIVE FANTASY MOGULS EARLY 3-DAY PTA ESTIMATES
1. NEW – No Country for Old Men (Miramax) – 28 locations – $45,886 PTA
2. NEW – Om Shanti Om (Eros Entertainment) – 114 locations – $15,000 PTA
3. NEW – War/Dance (Thinkfilm) – 3 locations – $13,940 PTA
4. American Gangster (Universal) – 3,059 locations – $7,620 PTA
5. NEW – Saawariya (Sony) – 85 locations – $6,184 PTA
6. NEW – Bee Movie (Dreamworks/Paramount) – 3,944 locations – $6,529 PTA
7. NEW – Fred Claus (Warner Bros) – 3,603 locations – $5,690 PTA
8. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Thinkfilm) – 122 locations – $4,917 PTA
9. NEW – Mr. Blue Sky (Rocky Mountain Pictures) – 1 location – $3,565 PTA
10. NEW – Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA) – 2,215 locations – $3,251 PTA

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