Purr Screen
Bee Movie $26,000,000 (-31.6%) $6,592 $72,214,000
American Gangster $24,319,000 (-44.2%) $7,949 $80,679,000
Fred Claus $19,225,000 $5,335 $19,225,000
Talking Points: The Musical $6,710,000 $3,029 $6,710,000
Dan in Real Life $5,872,000 (-25.4%) $3,025 $30,678,000
Saw IV $5,010,000 (-51.6%) $1,725 $58,086,000
The Game Plan $2,410,000 (-38.7%)
$1,115 $85,414,000
I P2 Freely $2,200,000 $1,032 $2,200,000
30 copies of Day for Night $2,100,000 (-43.9%) $1,238 $37,358,000
Martian Child $1,750,000 (-48.2%) $866 $6,013,000

Last week I started by saying “America loves gangsters! More than Seinfeld! At least this week!” Well, those tides have changed. Though it’s still possible that Gangster will outgross Bee Movie, in a turn of events that was predicted by exactly no one until Saturday, it was the second weekend of Bee Movie that came out on top. Universal and Dreamworks are surely happy about this. Both should easily cross the century mark, both should do more than that as well (Gangster will be getting close to the Century mark in one week’s time). Both films were expensive. Both films will make more money with video sales.

Had I written my column on Friday (I have an excuse and it’s a good one) I might have ruminated on why Fred Claus was not going to be a hit. Vince Vaughn’s appeal is because he’s a rude and unsavory motherfucker. He says inappropriate things quickly and tries to pretend he didn’t. Will Ferrell is a naïf, regardless if he’s talking about having sex with Veronica Corningstone, or playing a man who grew up an elf. As that is the case, Ferrell can play to kids, but Vaughn – the friend who stinks like a two-pack-a-day smoker but you love anyway – can not. So it’s likely some of his audience skipped the PG Vaughn, and some parents may have rather taken their kids to see Bee Movie than introduce them to him. Then again, I grew up on Cheech and Chong films, and all the "cast of Saturday Night Live" films (like Trading Places and Animal House). But I didn’t write anything on Friday, so I have nothing to crow about, and may have psyched myself out, unsure if Warner Brothers was going be able to get this one over. Well, they didn’t. Then again, The Polar Express opened weakly as well and played long. It though had the Imax bump. We shall see.

But, really, I was likely to focus on Lions for Lambs, because everyone knew that was going to hit the crapper. The talky but mercifully brief film was directed Robert Redford, who has a fairly competent track record behind the camera. But as has been made evident by pretty much all the films about Iraq that have come out this year, this issue is not what people go to the movies for. Also, it looked terrible. It should be said that – even though this was a supporting turn – it’s also hard not to read this as Tom Cruise being kinda done. Yes, it was talky, but that’s the whole point of casting stars. You could also say Magnolia didn’t do well with Cruise in a supporting turn, but Magnolia didn’t have anyone besides P.T. Anderson front and center*. Valkyrie might turn the beat around, turn it upside down, but what if that less than seven is Tom’s remaining audience?

Dan IRL - which should have been called Dan in Real Time, so the abbreviation was DIRT – continues to hold steady and find that weepy audience that is likely talking the film up. Which means the film might just get over $40, cause there’s nothing else really playing to that audience. And in some ways that’s more impressive than Saw IV’s smash and grab, but it will conk out closer to $70. The Game Plan continues it’s successful run, while P2 sucked in few people. Perhaps because the ads were pretty terrible. Dunno.

In limited release No Country for Old Men played on 28 screens and made over a million dollars. Not so bad at all. There’s no telling if it will play well when it expands, but it’s definitely one of the best limited release grosses of the year. The problem is expanding it.

Next week brings Beowulf, Cholera (well, to be fair, love as well), and Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. At least two of these smell like dead fish. Southland Tales hits the screen Wednesday. I was hanging out with some critic friends (who don’t write for Chud) on Thursday night, and you can imagine how little a group like that agrees. In fact, one of the catchphrases of our gatherings is me yelling – ironically of course – “You’re wrong!” Well, they all agreed about Southland Tales. Get out your jump-to-conclusions mat to find out how they felt!

*In the advertising, though, hell, you could say the movie as well. I will. Cause I’m not a fan. And I’m an asshole. An asshole… with an Uzi.