The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Check back on Monday for an update with the four-day weekend estimates and on Tuesday for the final figures based on actual box office.
Despite being dethroned from their comfy spots at #1 and 2, Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum and Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness weren’t too affected by the release of four new movies, each dropping less than 30% from last weekend. “Museum” adds another $17.1 million for the three days to bring its total to $186 million, as it makes its way up the Top 10 for ’06. Smith’s drama grossed an estimated $9.1 million in the first three days of the long weekend to bring its total to $134.5 million.
Each of the next three placements in the Top 10 were filled by movies expanding into more theatres for the holiday weekend, including the Paramount/DreamWorks musical Dreamgirls, which doubled its theatres, but dropped 6% from last weekend, while moving up one spot to fourth place with roughly $8.1 million. It has grossed nearly $65 million to date and is likely to do even better if it wins a couple of Golden Globes on Monday night.
Paramount also expanded MTV Films’ scholastic drama Freedom Writers into 2,179 theatres, over 800 more than last week, though it dropped 24% and a single place with $7.2 million over the weekend. One can presume that Stomp the Yard successfully usurped much of the potential business for the two movies in their new regions.
Alfonso Cuarón’s futuristic thriller Children of Men won the Scripter Award last week, but still dropped three places to #6 with $6.4 million in 1,508 theatres.
Three other new movies came to theatres this weekend, each taking places in the lower half of the top 10, starting with the Universal crime drama Alpha Dog with a young ensemble cast including Justin Timberlake. Opening in 1,288 theatres, it grossed roughly $6.1 million, an average of $4,728 and doing slightly better than the Touchstone Pictures action-thriller Primeval, which made under $6 million in nearly twice as many theatres.
Luc Besson’s half-animated family film Arthur and the Invisibles, starring Freddie Highmore and which cost a rumored $86 million to make, had a tough week. First, it was ousted for consideration as an animated feature by the Academy and then it only grossed a weak $4.3 million over the three-day weekend. That’s even worse than last week’s showing by Lionsgate’s computer-animated family film Happily N’Ever After, which took a tumble right out of the Top 10 despite the normally kid-friendly holiday weekend. The latter wound up with $3.2 million for a total gross of $10.8 million.
Meanwhile, Robert De Niro’s CIA drama The Good Shepherd, starring Matt Damon, rounded out the Top 10, at least for the three-day weekend, with $3.9 million bringing its gross to $54.3 million.
Paramount/Nickelodeon Films’ Charlotte’s Web gave up 790 theatres, presumably to the other Paramount movies, and dropped 43% to 11th place with $3.7 million and a total gross of $72 million. Expect it to end up in the top 10 over The Good Shepherd for the four-day weekend.
Just outside the Top 15, Guillermo del Toro’s dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth made $2 million after quadrupling its theatres, allowing it a similarly impressive per-theatre average as Stomp the Yard. Its current gross of $4.3 million is a good start for the movie, as Picturehouse plans to expand it into over 500 theatres next weekend. By comparison, Chinese master Zhang Yimou’s latest Curse of the Golden Flower expanded into 1,234 this weekend, but wound up making slightly less than Pan’s Labyrinth.
Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.