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Roadshow could redraw box office map

'Dreamgirls' auds will receive reserved seats, special program

The “Dreamgirls” roadshow is looking roadworthy. The question is, how will the box office will be tallied?

Paramount and DreamWorks decided to give the pic a retro rollout ahead of a wide release at Christmas, via the roadshow treatment not seen since the likes of 1972’s “Man of La Mancha.”

For $25, ticket holders to “Dreamgirls” received reserved seats and a special program. Pic was playing on three screens — in Gotham, Los Angeles and San Francisco — and had sold out its Friday shows at all the sites.

But B.O. watchers were still wondering late last week how Par would report the pic’s roadshow grosses. The studio was most likely to go with a per-screen average as a barometer of how the film’s playing in these exclusive engagements, but execs were still technically hashing out how to report.

Epics such as “The Ten Commandments” and “Lawrence of Arabia” once used such roadshows to trumpet their grandness as studios found themselves competing with TV for eyeballs.

If the technique bears fruit for “Dreamgirls,” perhaps movie musicals won’t be the only retro effort back in vogue with distribs.