June 22, 2013



OPENINGS:  A bit surprisingly, perhaps, Pixar’s recent movies haven’t exploded at the Saturday/Sunday matinee box office, with merely normal (as opposed to “family”) weekend multiples off their Friday openings.  So MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) is likely headed to a $75-78M weekend after a $30.5M Friday, slightly less than anticipated.  That’s still Pixar’s 2d-best opening ever (behind Toy Story 3‘s $110.3M).  The movie’s bigger concern is that it has less than 2 weeks in theatres before Despicable Me 2 arrives to take its own chomp of the animation audience.

WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) still has a long, long way to go before it can think about profit, thanks to its $350M+ cost (including marketing).  But the studio (and producer/star Brad Pitt) did their job by getting the movie to open, with a $25M Friday.  The next question will be whether Z plays as an action movie or a zombie horror thriller, because the latter tend to be very front-loaded.  This could be especially serious because on Friday, White House Down is coming straight for the movie’s audience.

THE BLING RING (A24) tiptoed over the threshold of wide release by spreading to 650 theatres.  It’s heading for a $2M weekend and an unimpressive $3K per-theatre average after $682K on Friday, and given its target audience of young women, it’s likely to be front-loaded.

HOLDOVERS:  Whether it’s due to the new competition in the market or so-so word of mouth, MAN OF STEEL (Warners) is quietly having one of the worst Week 2 holds of the summer season.  It’s likely to be down 65% from last weekend (and that doesn’t even count the $12M in Thursday night Wal-Mart screenings that weren’t considered part of its “weekend”) after a $12.7M Friday that was down an ugly 71% from last Friday.  Suddenly Steel doesn’t seem likely to get past $300M in the US, and with a likely $400M cost (with marketing), that puts a huge amount of pressure on uncertain overseas results to justify expensive sequels.

THIS IS THE END (Sony) is holding much better, probably down about 40% for the weekend after a $4.1M Friday.  Even though its $30M production cost becomes a bigger $125M or so when marketing is included, it should turn some profit if there’s any overseas audience for Seth Rogen and his apocalyptic buddies.

Among longer-lasting releases, NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate) is still the one with the best word of mouth, down a tiny 27% from last Friday and nearing a $100M total, excellent for a mid-budget movie.  The first round of summer blockbusters like FAST & FURIOUS 6 (Universal) and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) are at the tail end of their runs, heading for $240M and $225M respectively in the US–better news for Furious, which also has $417M overseas, than for Trek with its $201.7M international gross.   Meanwhile, AFTER EARTH (Sony), which desperately needed a huge overseas result to make up for its atrocious US reception, isn’t getting it, with only $91.9M to add to its likely $65M US total, and will probably end up losing at least $100M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  A very soft weekend for indies.  The latest attempt to tap the old-people audience, UNFINISHED SONG (Weinstein), is off to a moderate start with a per-theatre average at 2 unlikely to top $10K.  Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Lionsgate) expanded to 206 theatres with just a $3K average.  A HIJACKING (Magnolia) should have about a $5K average at 5.

NEXT WEEKEND:  One of the more interesting summer face-offs, as the Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy vehicle THE HEAT (20th) throws laughs against the big-bang fireworks of the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx spectacle WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Sony).  The indie world contributes Pedro Almodovar’s I’M SO EXCITED (Sony Pictures Classics).


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."