Denzel Washington in American GangsterAmerican Gangster, the story of a 1970s crime lord (played by Denzel Washington) and the unattractive but indomitable police detective who pursues him (Russell Crowe), pulled in an impressive $46.3 million at the U.S. box office in its opening weekend. It finished first in the audience race, over Bee Movie, which earned $39.1 million in its first weekend.

Interestingly, American Gangster scored well among those over age thirty and had slightly more female ticket buyers than males. Clearly the box office appeal of the two lead actors drove the film’s opening weekend popularity. Jerry Seinfeld’s aggressive promotion of Bee Movie—he cowrote and produced the film and provided the voice for the central character—helped greatly in drawing audiences to the children’s CGI animated movie.The rest of the top five were as follows:

3. Saw IV, $11 million
4. Dan in Real Life, $8.1 million
5. 30 Days of Night, $4 million

The Darjeeling Unlimited brought in only $1.3 million in its second week of wide release, finishing 15th. It is officially a flop.

The two current anti-Bush films continued their descent into the abyss: Michael Clayton (8th and fading fast) and Rendition (17th and fading even faster) lost 41 percent and 74 percent of their audience, respectively, when compared with the previous weekend.