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Beowulf Adds a New Dimension to the Weekend Box Office

November 20th, 2007

It was another tough week at the box office. No film missed Thursday's prediction by a significant margin, but there was an overall weakness. This pushed the box office to $104 million, down 8% from last weekend. More importantly it was down 28% from the same weekend last year. It is getting close to the time to panic. Granted, this year is safe but there's little evidence that this slowdown at the box office, which has lasted almost the entire fall, is going to end now that the Holidays have started. The only good news is that last Thanksgiving was a terrible weekend for new releases.

As expected, Beowulf won the weekend race, but like nearly every film on this week's list, it missed expectations. Earning $27.52 million during its first three days isn't a terrible start and with good reviews and the holiday coming up, it could still cross $100 million. However, that's well below the film's production budget and unless the film is a surprise hit internationally, it will have trouble earning back its initial expenses. On a side note, it appears the 3-D aspect was a big selling point for moviegoers, and we could see more films done in this format, just less expensive films.

Despite weaker competition, Bee Movie fell faster this weekend, down 45% to $14.01 million. However, it already has $93.57 million during its run and will hit $100 million before the weekend starts in earnest. Even with a higher than expected production budget, the film should still earn a profit by the time it hits the home market, if not sometime during its international run.

Speaking of $100 million, American Gangster became the 22nd film of the year to reach that milestone, but it was close. Over the weekend the film added $12.88 million for a total of $100.65 million. By this time next weekend it should beat Remember the Titan for the biggest hit in Denzel Washington's career. However, with a $100 million budget, it will take a while longer to reach profitability.

Fred Claus was the only film in the top five to top expectations, and with $11.91 million it did it with the narrowest of margins. The film has a running tally of $35.71 million, but unless it does amazing business over Thanksgiving weekend, it won't last in theaters much longer.

There hasn't been a family film that opened in wide release on the weekend before Thanksgiving to open with less than $10 million in the past decade, but that's just what Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium managed to do. In fact, its $9.63 million on 3,164 theaters makes it the third-widest release to fail to reach $10 million during its opening weekend (Cheaper By the Dozen 2 at 3,175 and The Nativity Story at 3,183 are the only two movies that beat it). Terrible reviews and an absentee advertising campaign are the two biggest factors and even with the holidays, it won't have strong legs at the box office.

The only other wide release this week was Love in the Time of Cholera, which missed expectations with $1.92 million to land in tenth place. Add in soft reviews and the film will evaporate very quickly.

Moving onto the sophomore class, Lions for Lambs fell an impressive 57% to just $2.90 million over the weekend and $11.58 million in total. There's been some talk that the film's political tone killed the movie; in reality, its reviews did that. Likewise, P2 was hampered by poor reviews and it dropped 59% to just $851,000 over the weekend and $3.63 million in total.


Filed under: Bee Movie, Beowulf, Fred Claus, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Lions for Lambs, P2, Love in the Time of Cholera, American Gangster