Bee Movie Stings Claus

In a game of box-office leapfrog, DreamWorks Animation’s Bee Movie overtook Universal’s American Gangster and outperformed newcomer Fred Claus from Warner Bros. to win the top spot at the North American box office. The Jerry Seinfeld insect comedy earned an estimated $26 million during its second weekend to drive its total domestic gross to around $72.2 million. An estimated $8 million from a handful of foreign territories brings worldwide box office to approximately $80.4 million.

Ridley Scott’s gritty crime drama American Gangster, which topped Bee Movie when they both opened last week, posted a close second place for its sophomore weekend with around $24.3 million. Meanwhile, Fred Claus debuted at No. 3 with $19.2 million (est.) Many thought the holiday comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti would beat out the holdovers, but its lackluster reviews didn’t help in combating largely positive word-of-mouth for Bee Movie.

Fred Claus‘ third-place finish may be a disappointment for Warner Bros., but it did far better than the weekend’s other two wide openers. The United Artists political thriller Lions for Lambs starring Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep debuted at No. 4 with around $6.7 million, while Summit Ent.’s stalker shocker P2 barely made the top ten, hitting No. 8 with approximately $2.2 million. Holdover Dan in Real Life from Buena Vista finished out the top five with an estimated $5.8 million in its third week.

This coming weekend sees Paramount/Shangri-La Ent.’s digital retelling of Beowulf take on a number of fellow openers, including the literary adaptations Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium from 20th Century Fox and Love in the Time of Cholera from New Line Cinema, as well as David Kelley’s futuristic curiosity Southland Tales from Samuel Goldwyn Films.