March 8, 2014



OPENINGS:  300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (Warners/Legendary) did well in late-night shows, raising its Friday estimate to $17.7M, which may bring its opening weekend to $43M or more.  That’s still not in a league with the original 300 and its $28.9M/70.1M start (especially since the 2007 movie didn’t have 3D ticket prices or Thursday evening performances), but it’s strong nevertheless.  Empire cost around $225M with worldwide marketing costs included, and its overseas revenue will determine whether it’s a breakeven proposition or a hit.  The film opened widely around the world on Friday, and we’ll have details about its international results tomorrow.

MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN (DreamWorks Animation/20th) had a moderate launch at $8M on Friday, less than half of the $17.1M for The Lego Movie last month, and also below the $11.6M for The Croods, which was DreamWorks Animation’s offering last March.  Croods ended up being a hit because it more than doubled its US results overseas, but Peabody is also off to a mild start internationally, with $40M to date in some major markets including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Mexico.  With a $275M cost (including marketing), it has still has quite a bit of hill to climb.

HOLDOVERS:  NON-STOP (Universal) dropped 53% from last Friday to $4.7M, although that will moderate over the weekend because Sunday will be comparatively strong compared to last week’s Oscar Sunday.  It’s still pacing to be the highest of Liam Neeson’s non-Taken action movies.  SON OF GOD (20th) was extremely frontloaded, and collapsed by 72% from last Friday to $2.7M.  Of course, an eventual $60M in the US will still be quite good for a film that had very low costs (mostly being a re-edit of the TV miniseries The Bible) and should perform disproportionately well in homevideo.

THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) is still holding very impressively, down 40% from last Friday to $2.7M despite the competing arrival of Mr. Peabody, with a US total of nearly $225M likely by Sundamy and a clear path to $250M.  FROZEN (Disney) got an Oscar boost on top of its already-amazing consistency, and dropped just 12% from last Friday to $634K, with $400M in the US dead ahead.

12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fos Searchlight) more than doubled its theatre count following its Best Picture win, and will triple last weekend’s total to $2M, although with the film already available on homevideo, it still may not get beyond a $55M US total.  (In comparison, Philomena, which won no Oscars, should reach $40M at the US box office.)

LIMITED RELEASE:  Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) is headed toward a history-making opening, with a $65K per-theatre average on Friday alone at its 4 NY/LA theatres.  It should certainly break the non-special event record set by The Master, which had a $147K weekend average at 5, and might even reach a $200K average for the weekend.  Of course, opening averages at such a small number of theatres don’t necessarily mean much in the bigger picture, as The Master only ended up with $16.4M in the US.  However, Budapest is a considerably more accessible film than Master, and has a chance of reaching a wider audience.  (Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom started with a 130K average at 4, and ended up with $45.5M in the US.)  Meanwhile, THE FACE OF LOVE (IFC) might reach an $8K average at 3 for the weekend, but even that’s somewhat misleading, since it’s been featuring celebrity Q&As.

NEXT WEEKEND:  NEED FOR SPEED (DreamWorks/Disney) may be one of DreamWorks’ last releases as a semi-independent entity if recent stories are true (studio president Stacey Snider might be going to 20th, which is reportedly assuaging uber-boss Steven Spielberg with, among other things, remake rights to West Side Story).  Tyler Perry’s latest, THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB (Lionsgate) also arrives.  Jason Bateman’s directing debut BAD WORDS (Focus/Universal), a sensation at the Toronto Film Festival, will enter limited release.


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."