By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Fox should take note if they are still contemplating on knocking Hitman down from R to something more PG. American Gangster carried the R-rating this weekend and killed it.
American Gangster Takes the Weekend Box Office
American Gangster took in a whopping $46.3 million -- the highest opening for an R-rated crime drama -- which easily gave it the number one spot over the weekend. Seinfeld's Bee Movie, coming in during an era of disappointing CG box office numbers, was close with a hefty $39.1 million.
Thanks to the two big releases, this weekend's box office was the first out of the last seven weeks to beat last year's numbers. The two biggest earners we have seen this fall, one doesn't expect to see numbers this big until the Thanksgiving holiday. This weekend didn't only match last year's, but is up 8%. Strong, yes, but this season is still behind by 4%.
Universal is feeling good about their first-weekend start and, according to them, Oscar contender.
“All the stars aligned for us,” Universal prexy of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco said. “I’m thrilled that this film jump-started the business. Face it: This is a big result for an R-rated film that runs over 150 minutes.”
The only other wide release, Martian Child, didn't fair so well and only opened at $3.6 million.
American Gangster gives Universal its second-highest opening of the year, right behind The Bourne Ultimatum's $69.3 million.
The last record holder for largest opening of an R-rated crime drama was Sin City. The adaptation of the graphic novel took in $29.1 million during its opening bow.