The PG-13 motion-capture animated pic, produced by Shangri-La Entertainment and distributed overseas by Warner Bros., is touted as the widest digital 3-D domestic release ever. Of those theaters showing "Beowulf," 740 are 3-D screens, while the rest are 2-D.
"Monster House," Zemeckis' previous motion-capture animated production, garnered $2.6 million from 163 3-D digital houses during its opening July 2006 weekend. Given "Beowulf's" wide accessibility at 3-D theaters, it should have no problem outstripping that figure. The PG-rated "Monster" boasted an opening day of $7.4 million and a 3-day of $22.2 million off 3,553 engagements.
"Beowulf" is expected to stay ahead of the pack at the weekend B.O.; however, it's a tight race among those three holdovers ranking behind it.
Universal's "American Gangster" bullied Par-DreamWorks' "Bee Movie" out of second place Friday with $3.9 million off 3,110 locales, down 46% from a week ago. Having grossed $91.6 million to date in its third frame, "Gangster" continues to pace ahead of last year's "The Departed" by 36%, autumn's highest grossing R-rated crime drama of all-time ($132.4 million). The Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe topliner looks to hit the century mark by tomorrow.
In third, "Bee Movie" harvested $3.4 million from 3,984 theaters, down 45%. Pic's cume to date stands at $83 million.
Last weekend's Warner Bros.' holiday comedy "Fred Claus" proved to be slightly more popular among families than Friday's new G-rated entry "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium." Landing in fourth, "Claus" collected $3.3 million from 3,603 chimneys, repping a 39% decline from a week ago, and an eight day cume of $27 million. Fox-Walden's "Magorium" took fifth with $2.6 million from 3,164 hardtops.
Arthouse crowds traveled to the 148 theaters playing "No Country for Old Men" yesterday, propelling the Joel and Ethan Coen film into seventh place with $892,000, up 153% from last Friday, and a per engagement of $6,030. In its first eight days, "Old Men" has minted $2.7 million.
Friday's other wide entry, New Line's "Love in the Time of Cholera" rested in tenth with $635,000 from 852 playdates.
The battle among Bollywood musicals in their second Friday resulted in Eros' "Om Shanti Om" crooning $222,000 from 117 theaters over Sony's "Saawariya" which only peeped $37,000 from 85 – a 75% drop from its opening day. To date, "Om Shanti Om" has made $2.4 million while "Saawariya" has grossed close to $700,000.
Par Vantage's "Margot at the Wedding" proved to be a worthy engagement for Gotham auds, boasting the day's highest theater average of $11,373 from two theaters or $22,746.
Few turned up to soak in Richard Kelly's "Southland Tales" which drew a $595 theater average or $37,485 from 63 locales.
ANOTHER BIG FILM CANCELLED BECAUSE OF WRITERS STRIKE
The Oliver Stone-directed "Pinkville" has become the second major film casualty of the writer’s strike.
United Artists has halted plans to begin production in early December in Southeast Asia, sources said.
The studio agreed to finance and distribute the drama about the investigation of the Mai Lai massacre in 1968. The film was to star Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Woody Harrelson, Xzibit, Michael Pitt and Toby Jones. The budget was under $40 million and the cast and crew were preparing to leave for Thailand when the plug was pulled Friday.
The reason for the plug pull was the inability for Stone and screenwriter Mikko Alanne to hone the script any further because both are members of the WGA. Before Stone won Oscars for directing "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July," he won an Oscar in 1979 for writing "Midnight Express." He is a filmmaker accustomed to making changes throughout production, and that is simply not an option given the strike.
It is unclear whether UA will revive the film for a quick re-start, the way that Sony will certainly do for its "Da Vinci Code" sequel "Angels & Demons." Pictures that lose momentum are often hard-pressed to regain it, as casts go off to other projects. And after underwhelming returns for "Lions for Lambs," some felt it conceivable that UA won’t mind a hiatus from wartime-set films.