Jerry Seinfeld, who is used to making end runs around his competition, has taken the lead at the box office with his animated Bee Movie. The film, which opened in second place last week behind American Gangster, moved to No. 1 with an estimated take of $26 million and should further enhance its standing today (Monday) with kids out of school for the extended Veteran's Day holiday. Its gross now stands at around $72.2 million. "It's so rare to do what Bee Movie has done, Media by Numbers President Paul Dergarabedian told today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times, attributing its jump to first place to "terrific word of mouth." Meanwhile, Gangster remained a potent force as it chalked up earnings of $24.3 million. After remaining ahead of the Seinfeld flick from Monday through Thursday, the film can now boast a 10-day total of $80.6 million. On the other hand, Fred Claus, starring Vince Vaughn -- the film most box-office prognosticators thought would wind up as the top film -- wound up in third place with $19.2 million, at the low end of their predictions. The Tom Cruise-Robert Redford-Meryl Street anti-war drama Lion for Lambs performed slightly better than analysts had imagined, taking in $6.7 million. The stalker flick P2 opened in 1,032 theaters with $2.2 million. Making an impressive debut in just 28 theaters, the Coen Bros.' No Country for Old Men earned $1.2 million or $42,900 per theater. That compares with $6,600 per theater for Bee Movie. Overall, the box office was down 11.6 percent from the comparable weekend last year. Next week, however, is expected to see a significant rise with the opening of the Robert Zemeckis-directed Beowulf, starring Angelina Jolie. The film will have the largest rollout ever on 3-D screens -- more than 1,000 -- with premium pricing attached to those screenings and those at dozens of IMAX venues.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:
1. Bee Movie, $26 million; 2. American Gangster, $24.3 million; 3. Fred Claus, $19.2 million; 4. Lions for Lambs, $6.7 million; 5. Dan in Real Life, $5.9 million; 6. Saw IV, $5 million; 7. The Game Plan, $2.4 million; 8. P2, $2.2 million; 9. 30 Days of Night, $2.1 million; 10. Martian Child, $1.75 million.