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Gangsters are Busy Bees at the Box Office

November 5th, 2007

November got the box office back on track as a record-breaking opening for Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, (and for that matter, Jerry Seinfeld), helped the overall box office earn $134 million over the weekend. That's 33% higher than the last weekend, but more importantly, it was 4% more than the same weekend last year. That growth doesn't even keep up with the growth in ticket prices, (although it is extremely close), however, it does stop the six-week slid we've been experiencing and hopefully this will mean bigger business over the holidays.

Before the weekend start, the biggest opening for a Denzel Washington movie was Inside Man with $28.95 million. The biggest opening for a Russel Crowe movie was Gladiator at $34.82 million. American Gangster crushed those records. Over the weekend the film earned $43.57 million becoming the tenth biggest opening for a November release. Add in stellar reviews and this movie should hit $135 to $150 million before its run is over, and it's been a while since either actor has seen the north side of $100 million.

While it is true that Bee Movie had to settle for second place, the film still pulled in $38.02 million over the weekend, which is just 5% behind Thursday's prediction and that's enough to call it a victory. In addition, the reviews improved and were finally able to top 50% positive, which should help its legs and push it over the $125 million mark before it ends. This is certainly a great start to Jerry Seinfeld's movie career, however, the real test is if and when he tries his hand at live-action.

To say Saw IV had problems at the box office during its sophomore stint is an understate, as the latest installment of the franchise plummeted more than 67% to just $10.35 million over the weekend. This gives the film $50.40 million after 10 days, but this is $9 million back of Saw III during the same point in its run and it makes $70 million likely out of reach. On the other hand, the movies are still dirt-cheap to make and there's little doubt the studio is happy at this point.

Dan in Real Life finished within a rounding error of expectations, and fortunately it was a rounding error in the black. The film's sophomore box office was down just 33% to $7.87 million while its running tally rose to $22.70 million. Overall, it seems to be headed for $40 million, more or less, which is enough to be considered a midlevel hit. However, it will need to show some legs on the home market to show a profit.

Unstoppable. The Game Plan has been simply unstoppable earning its sixth top five finish. Over the weekend the film added $3.93 million to its total of $82.04 million; this was the worst drop-off of its run so far, but it also faced its stiffest competition. Assuming the movie loses even more theaters this weekend, it still looks like it can top The Scorpion King as the biggest hit of Dwayne Johnson's career as a lead actor.

Finally we come to The Martian Child. The film was saddled with weak reviews, an anemic ad campaign, and a low theater count, but I was still expecting more than seventh place with $3.38 million. This gave it a per theater average of less than $2000, and the less said about the movie the better.


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Filed under: Bee Movie, The Game Plan, Saw IV, Dan in Real Life, The Martian Child, American Gangster