Bee Movie accomplished something over the weekend that rarely happens. It jumped into the first spot. It’s especially significant because Bee Movie debuted in second place last week.

It’s a feat that hasn’t been done since Wedding Crashers in July 2005. (In New Year’s 2006, Narnia reclaimed the top after hanging around in the top two.) But its estimated $26 million this weekend was good enough for #1 on a slow weekend at the movies.

In second place wasn’t an opener, but the still strong American Gangster with $24. million and a cume of $80.7 million.

Fred Claus opened to a respectable $19.2 million, and should continually add to that through the holiday season. It’s typical for studios to roll out early Christmas movies in November, but the season seems to be getting earlier every year. If Beowulf isn’t a big hit, this might even have the potential to pull a Bee Movie next weekend and end up on top.

The other Christmas-related film, P2 set for no reason on Christmas Eve, landed where it belonged in eighth with only $2.2 million.

Lions for Lambs is the first film under the revived United Artists label with new management Tom Cruise and his business partner Paula Wagner. Not surprisingly the Iraq-related movie performed modestly with audiences with $6.7 million. It’s another in a long string of poorly-received war films, not just with audiences, but critics alike. Even the president of distribution at MGM said the reception was “a little disappointing,” before he spun something about older audiences seeing it later.

Meanwhile, on only 28 screens, No Country for Old Men opened monstrous with $1.2 million and an average $42k per screen.

Here’s your chart, and I’ll spare you the bad bee puns:
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 $1.8 million

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