Box Office Analysis, Nov. 19: ‘Beowulf’ Gets a Hero’s Welcome

Beowulf slew the competition this weekend. The animated telling of one of English literature’s oldest epic poems debuted in the top spot at the North American box office with $28.1 million, giving a huge boost to 3-D films in the process.

Beowulf’s director Robert Zemeckis once again used performance-capture technology to render lifelike images of its stars Ray Winstone and Angelina Jolie. According to The Associated Press, 40 percent of Beowulf’s gross came from special 3-D showings in regular theaters and on Imax screens.

The film did $8 million in ticket sales on 638 screens equipped with technology from RealD, which uses a special reflective screen and polarized lens glasses that moviegoers can take as a souvenir. Beowulf also sold $3.6 million worth of tickets on 84 Imax screens showing the film using their own 3-D technology.

“If this isn’t a mandate on the popularity and viability of 3-D, I don’t know what is,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers, told AP.

The fantasy tale Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman, opened in fifth place with $10 million, while Love in the Time of Cholera, an adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel starring Javier Bardem, debuted in 10th place with $1.9 million.

The Top 12 movies took in a total of $94.6 million, down 29.15 percent from last year’s total of $133.6 million and down 3.19 percent from last weekend’s total of $97.7 million.

The Top Three films at the box office this time last year: Warner Bros.’ Happy Feet, which opened at No. 1 with $41.5 million in 3,804 theaters, averaging $10,918 per theater; Sony’s Casino Royale, which debuted in second place with $40.8 million in 3,434 theaters, averaging $11,891 per theater; and 20th Century Fox’s Borat, which dropped to third place in its third week with $14.6 million in 2,611 theaters, averaging $5,593 per theater (Click here to read last year’s box office report).

BOX OFFICE TOP 10 ESTIMATES

(Source: Exhibitor Relations, Inc.)

No. 1: Beowulf (Paramount, PG-13)

• Gross: $28.1 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,153

• Per-theater average: $8,912

No. 2: Bee Movie (Paramount, PG)

• Gross: $14.3 million (-44%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 3,984 (+40)

• Per-theater average: $3,589

• Cume to date: $25.5million

No. 3: American Gangster (Universal, R)

• Gross: $13.2 million (-45%)

• Weeks opened: 3

• Theaters: 3,110 (+51)

• Per-theater average: $4,250

• Cume to date: $100.9 million

No. 4: Fred Claus (Warner Bros., PG)

• Gross: $12 million (-35%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 3,603 (unchanged)

• Per-theater average: $3,331

• Cume to date: $35.7 million

No. 5: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (20th Century Fox., G)

• Gross: $10 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 3,164

• Per-theater average: $3,168

No. 6: Dan in Real Life (Buena Vista, PG-13)

• Gross: $4.5 million (-25%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 1,901 (-40)

• Per-theater average: $2,373

• Cume to date: $37 million

No. 7: No Country for Old Men (Miramax, R)

• Gross: $3 million (+153%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 148 (+120)

• Per-theater average: $20,932

• Cume to date: $4.9 million

No. 8: Lions for Lambs (MGM/UA, R)

• Gross: $2.9 million (-57%)

• Weeks opened: 2

• Theaters: 2,216 (+1)

• Per-theater average: $1,310

• Cume to date: $11.5 million

No. 9: Saw IV (Lionsgate, R)

• Gross: $2.3 million (-53%)

• Weeks opened: 4

• Theaters: 2,097 (-807)

• Per-theater average: $1,111

• Cume to date: $61.8million

No. 10: Love in the Time of Cholera (New Line, R)

• Gross: $1.8 million

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 852

• Per-theater average: $2,201

OTHER OPENINGS

Southland Tales (Samuel Goldwyn, R)

• Gross: $116,550

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 63

• Per-theater average: $1,850

Margot at the Wedding (Paramount Vantage, R)

• Gross: $82,929

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 2

• Per-theater average: $41,465

Smiley Face (First Look, R)

• Gross: $6,502

• Weeks opened: NEW!

• Theaters: 1

• Per-theater average: $6,502

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