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Arts and Entertainment

Box Office Review: Surprise!

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Covering the weekend box office race can sometimes be a tedious job for the simple reason that there are rarely big surprises. Typically, a movie opens on a bunch of screens, makes a large portion of its money in its opening frame, then drops 50% in each successive weekend before finally disappearing from theaters. There are, however, occasional outliers who don't follow the normal pattern and make life much more interesting. Bee Movie is the newest member of that club.

After a solid opening weekend where it finished a reasonably close second to American Gangster, Bee Movie managed the rare feat of nudging out not only Gangster but this weekend's new openers. With a 26 million dollar weekend ($72.2M gross), Jerry Seinfeld's initial foray into animation seems poised to be a welcome hit for DreamWorks Animation. American Gangster also did well in its second weekend, pulling in $24.3M and now sitting on a robust $80.6M total.

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Among the new crowd, the critically reviled Fred Claus won out but it was hardly a noteworthy win ($19.2M). The simple-minded Lions for Lambs was even less impressive, grossing a paltry $6.7M and presaging the box-office decline of Tom Cruise. After that, it was Dan in Real Life ($5.8M, $30.6M), Saw IV ($5M, $58M) and The Game Plan ($2.4M, $85.4M). P2 debuted with a weak $2.2M, followed by 30 Days of Night ($2.1, $37.3M) and Martian Child ($1.7M, $6.0M).

In limited release, the fantastic No Country for Old Men roared into Oscar contention, averaging a rich $42,928 per theater in its opening weekend. Om Shanti Om exceeded expectations ($13,157 per), as did Holly ($35,000). Saawariya ($7058) and War/Dance ($5700) both did okay, while After Dark's Horrorfest 2 ($1585) failed to find an audience and may not be back next year. The holiday season begins in earnest next week when the awesome Beowulf finally hits theaters. Buy your tickets now!

Photos courtesy of DreamWorks Animations and Warner Brothers