Murphy’s Norbit Isn’t Such a Drag

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The ComingSoon.net Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Be sure to check back on Monday for final figures based on actual box office.

Just a few weeks after being nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role in the musical Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy’s luck and success is going strong as his crossdressing comedy Norbit became his second highest opening live action movie with an estimated three-day take of $33.7 million over the weekend.

It’s Murphy’s highest opening movie since 2000’s Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which also had the comic wearing latex to play different characters. Although critics tore the movie apart, Murphy’s millions of fans voted with their dollars by flocking to see the movie over the weekend, and it’s highly doubtful that Murphy’s return to physical humor will hurt his chances at the Oscars as much as some seem to think.

Meanwhile, MGM and The Weinstein Company teamed to release The Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal Rising, this time starring Gaspard Ulliel in the role that made Anthony Hopkins famous. Its weekend gross of $13.3 million is significantly lower than the last Hannibal Lecter prequel Red Dragon, which opened with $36.5 million in October ’02.

Last week’s top two movies dropped down to make room for the new films with the Diane Keaton-Mandy Moore romantic comedy Because I Said So overtaking Screen Gems’ horror thriller The Messengers, directed by the Pang brothers. The former made roughly $9 million in its second weekend, a minor drop of 31%, while the latter ended up with $7.2 million, a larger drop of 51% placing it in fourth for the weekend. Both movies have made roughly $25 million after ten days.

Wrapping up its two month run in the Top 5, the Fox comedy Night at the Museum, starring Ben Stiller, added another $5.7 million to its impressive total of $232 million. Dropping three places to #6, Fox’s other comedy, Epic Movie, grossed $4.45 million to bring its total to $35.5 million, while Joe Carnahan’s crime-drama Smokin’ Aces took seventh place with $3.8 million.

A trio of Oscar-nominated films filled out the Top 10 with Pan’s Labyrinth and The Queen remaining in 8th and 10th place, respectively, and the musical Dreamgirls sitting in between. “Pan’s” and The Queen barely lost any ground from last week, each dropping less than 6%, the former having grossed $26 million and the latter having grossed $49 million since opening last September. Dreamgirls added another $3 million to its take as it gets closer to the $100 million mark, which it should surpass sometime in the next week.

The Screen Gems dance movie Stomp the Yard and Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness each made $2.4 million over the weekend, making 11th and 12th place too close to call.

The German Oscar-nominated film The Lives of Others opened in 9 theatres in New York and Los Angeles where it accumulated $230 thousand over the weekend, an average of nearly $25 thousand per theatre. It’s considered by many to be the primary competition to Pan’s Labyrinth in the Oscar Foreign Language category and if it wins, you can guarantee that Sony Classics will expand it wider.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.

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