A quiet weekend at the box office, ‘The Beekeeper’ on top and some Oscar boosts

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(AP) Movie theaters and audiences settled for seconds this weekend. With no new wide releases on the schedule, a mob of holdovers sustained the North American box office, which was led by “ The Beekeeper ” in its third week of release.

Amazon MGM Studios’ Jason Statham actioner earned $7.4 million to take the No. 1 spot, according to studio estimates Sunday. It was down only 14% from the previous weekend and brings its running domestic total to $42.3 million. Globally, it has crossed $100 million.

Paramount’s “ Mean Girls ” musical, which is also in its third weekend, was close behind, with $7.3 million. The movie has now earned $60.8 million in North America.

In third place, Warner Bros.’ “ Wonka ” added $5.9 million in its seventh weekend as the Timothée Chalamet-led musical inches closer to $200 million domestic. It’s currently at $195.2 million in North America and $552 million globally.

Rounding out the top five were Universal and Illumination’s “Migration,” with $5.1 million, which pushed it over the $100 million mark domestically, and Sony’s romantic comedy “Anyone But You,” with $4.8 million, bringing its total to $71.2 million.

“Overall, it’s a very slow weekend in terms of sheer box office but a fantastic weekend to be a moviegoer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore. “The strikes created a lot of headwind, but the disruption to the release calendar is creating opportunities and potential. It’s an ever-changing ecosystem.”

Those that benefited included the Hindi-language action film “Fighter,” which debuted in sixth place with $3.7 million, “Godzilla Minus One,” which was re-released in black and white for a week and cracked the top 10, and several awards contenders.

This was the first moviegoing weekend following Oscar nominations. While many top contenders are already available to watch in the home, including “Oppenheimer,” “Barbie,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “The Holdovers,” several films still in theaters got sizable boosts from the buzz. Amazon and MGM’s “American Fiction,” nominated for five awards, including best picture and best actor for Jeffrey Wright, got a 65% bump in its seventh week, with $2.9 million in ticket sales.

Searchlight’s “Poor Things,” nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture, best director and best actress for Emma Stone, got a 43% boost from last weekend with an estimated $3 million. The Yorgos Lanthimos film has now earned $51.1 million globally.

“To have high-quality Oscar contenders rise above the noise is really important,” Dergarabedian said. “Because it’s a quiet weekend, these films were really able to make their mark in the top 10.”

A24’s “The Zone of Interest,” which had five nominations, including best picture and best director for Jonathan Glazer, expanded to 317 screens, where it earned $1.1 million. The studio said most audiences in top markets were under 35.

Universal had leading Oscar nominee “Oppenheimer” in 1,262 theaters, where it earned an additional million dollars this weekend. Focus Features also added 1,140 screens for its big Oscar contender, Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” which is also streaming on Peacock. It added an estimated $520,000, bringing its running total to $19.3 million. “The Holdovers” also earned $3.3 million internationally for a $31.2 million global total.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Beekeeper,” $7.4 million.

2. “Mean Girls,” $7.3 million.

3. “Wonka,” $5.9 million.

4. “Migration,” $5.1 million.

5. “Anyone But You,” $4.8 million.

6. “Fighter,” $3.7 million.

7. “Poor Things,” $3 million.

8. “American Fiction,” $2.9 million.

9. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” $2.8 million.

10. “Godzilla Minus One,” $2.6 million.

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