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Box Office Update 11/2-11/4: American Gangster Holds Off Seinfeld’s Bees

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Surprising me, but not many other analysts (not that I would term myself an analyst, exactly), American Gangster took the top spot as it did its part to reinvigorate the box office. The long storied production opened with an estimated $46.3 million tally, easily taking the top spot this week. The film did this despite a runtime that was north of two and a half hours, an R rating, and strong competition from a new family film. It will be interesting to see how well it holds up in the weeks to come, and how the Oscar voters react to it.

Coming in a strong second place was Jerry Seinfeld's return vehicle, Bee Movie.  It proved to be a strong second with an estimated $39 million. The amount of entertainment that you derive will be based on just how much you enjoy Seinfeld's comedy as the first half is filled with a lot of his brand of humor (he was one of the writer's after all). I would have to say that the one downfall of the film is the conformist "lesson" that it espouses. Still, there were many laughs to be had and the animation was really quite good.

One other new film arrived on the top ten this weekend. The John Cusack starring family drama, Martian Child, opened to a lukewarm reaction from cinema-goers. It finished in seventh place with a tepid $3.4 million. I expected a bit more out of this, but after seeing it I am not surprised by the response. It pours on the melodrama but never really takes flight. The script just wasn't there, so even the best efforts of John Cusack are not enough.

Among the returning films, both Dan in Real Life and The Game Plan both displayed good holds, with drops in the low 30% range. Both of them are worth seeing on the big screen, and it seems that while neither is burning up the charts, they have both found an audience and people keep coming to see it. I have seen them both and they are good.

On the other side of the coin there is last week's top film, Saw IV, drop over 67% from its opening frame. It is a huge drop, but honestly, who didn't see that coming? Movies like this are completely front loaded and will always do most of their business in that opening weekend.

The rest of the returning films all suffered respectable drops. They all did their part to break a series of down weekends when compared to last year, which I believe stood at six in a row. This weekend was a strong start for November and could prove to carry through the holiday season.

Next week will see new competition from the holiday themed film Fred Claus, as well as the war-themed Tom Cruise flick Lions for Lambs, and a creepy looking new horror movie called P2. In a much smaller release there is also the second edition of the After Dark Horror Fest.

Three movies dropped off the top ten this week: The Nightmare Before Christmas (11), The Comebacks (12), and We Own the Night (13).

At the time of this writing final numbers were not available, these are the estimates.

This Week Last Week Title Wknd Gross Overall Week in release
1 N American Gangster $46,344,000 $46,344,000 1
2 N Bee Movie $39,100,000 $39,100,000 1
3 1 Saw IV $11,010,000 $51,060,000 2
4 2 Dan in Real Life $8,125,000 $22,950,000 2
5 3 30 Days of Night $4,000,000 $34,229,000 3
6 4 The Game Plan $3,853,000 $81,957,000 6
7 N Martian Child $3,650,000 $3,650,000 1
8 6 Michael Clayton $2,900,000 $33,198,000 5
9 5 Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? $2,730,000 $51,185,000 4
10 7 Gone Baby Gone $2,400,000 $14,948,000 3

Box Office Predictions Recap
Once again I do a great job of getting everything wrong! The top ten again proved elusive as the top two both came in over my guesstimations and in reversed order. I thought for sure the colorful and family friendly Bee Movie would take the top spot, and that American Gangster would do well but be held back by its lengthy runtime. If that wasn't enough, I also overestimated the draw of John Cusack's new family drama, something that I probably should have figured correctly. The rest of list found my guesses to be pretty close. Maybe next week will be my week?

Anyway, here is how I picked the field:

Actual Prediction Title Wknd Gross Prediction
2 1 Bee Movie $39,100,000 $32 million
1 2 American Gangster $46,344,000 $25 million
3 3 Saw IV $11,010,000 $17 million
7 4 Martian Child $3,650,000 $15 million
4 5

Dan in Real Life

$8,125,000 $6.5 million
6 6 The Game Plan $3,853,000 $4 million
5 7 3o Days of Night $4,000,000 $3.5 million
9 8 Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? $2,730,000 $3 million
8 9 Michael Clayton $2,900,000 $3 million
10 10 Gone Baby Gone $2,400,000 $2.5 million

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