July 11, 2011



With a summer movie season bracketed by the first weekend in May on one end, and Labor Day on the other, we’ve reached the midpoint of 2011’s array of blockbusters, and for the next week, here at SHOWBUZZDAILY, we’ll be providing our judgments on how the studios are doing.  US Grosses and Overseas Grosses are as of July 10, 2011.
Today:  Kabletown Studios

US Release:  April 29
US Gross:  $208,769,000
Overseas Gross:  $392,831,354
Worldwide Total:  $601,600,354
US Release:  May 13

US Gross:  $158,186,000

Overseas Gross:  $48,500,000

Worldwide Total:  $206,686,000 

BEGINNERS (Focus Features)

US Release:  June 3
US Gross:  $2,697,327
Overseas Gross:  n/a (Focus only controls certain territories)
Worldwide Total: n/a

US Release:  July 1

US Gross:  $26,526,000

Overseas Gross:  $8,400,000

Worldwide Total:: $34,926,000

Universal’s summer score comes with a big asterisk:  properly speaking, FAST FIVE‘s April 29 opening placed it outside Hollywood’s “summer.”  Deleting that $600M from its numbers would make quite a difference.  But since the film opened just a week before the summer’s “official” start with Thor, it was marketed as a summer movie and had the bulk of its playing time during summer, it (sort-of) counts.  Financially the picture was a bonanza, the franchise’s highest grosser both domestically and overseas, and a particularly huge hit internationally–it could end up doubling the second-highest overseas gross of the series.  (Needless to say, a sixth installment is on the way.) 

BRIDESMAIDS is a much smaller hit, but an even bigger surprise for the studio:  the low-budgeted R-rated comedy with no stars has turned into the biggest smash ever from Judd Apatow’s production company, and kicked off a summer of R-rated comedy success.  Since no one except Apatow will get a large back-end on this picture, there should be plenty of profit for the studio.

LARRY CROWNE is a flop, but Universal was strictly a distributor on it, with no financial investment beyond marketing costs.  Even so, the picture  may take a while to hit breakeven, but Universal is in much better shape than the film’s financiers.

On the limited release side, BEGINNERS is taking its time expanding beyond art houses–this weekend it added 47 theatres for a total of 155, and saw its per-theatre gross decline to a still-acceptable $3500 or so.  If it can play out the rest of the summer, it could develop into a modest success. 

Fast Five successfully pushed the franchise into the heist genre, and may have had the smartest casting idea of the summer by adding The Rock to the movie’s crew.  The result wasn’t brainy, but it was fun.

Showbuzzdaily was in the minority on Bridesmaids (89% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), which was undeniably enjoyed by vast numbers of moviegoers.  Director Paul Feig, writer/star Kristen Wiig and her co-stars are all big talents, so more power to them.  Larry Crowne, on the other hand, was a misfire that left a bad aftertaste.

Beginners is a marvelous, very little movie that probably won’t reach a wide audience, but is at least being seen. 


COWBOYS & ALIENS – July 29:  Universal can’t seem to figure out how to sell this big-budget, high-concept whatsit.  There have been multiple trailers, some playing up the western genre, some the star power of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, others the scifi special effects.  That kind of muddled sell usually doesn’t help at the boxoffice.

THE CHANGE-UP – August 5: Jason Bateman’s new hit with Horrible Bosses may boost this R-rated body-switch comedy, which seemed doomed after Ryan Reynolds failed to thrill anyone as the Green Lantern.  Although it follows Friends With Benefits and Crazy Stupid Love in the summer line-up, this one could skew more to a male audience.   
ONE DAY (Focus) – August 19:   This initially seemed like a no-brainer:  Anne Hathaway in a romantic comedy drama based on a bestselling (and extremely good) book, from the director of An Education.  The decision to push opening day from midsummer to the last couple of weeks before Labor Day doesn’t bode well, though.  

THE MONEY:  Split grade — B+ if Cowboys & Aliens succeeds, C+ if it flops.

THE QUALITY:  C+, higher for the rest of the world that loved Bridesmaids.
Click HERE to read the other studio report cards.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."