June 29, 2013



OPENINGS:  Almost all the “early Friday” numbers turned out to be overly optimistic, but THE HEAT (20th) is still having a great opening, with a $13.6M first day that should put it in the neighborhood of a $37M weekend.  That puts it ahead of Melissa McCarthy’s $34.6M opening with Identity Thief, and remarkably enough, would make it the biggest opening of Sandra Bullock’s career.  The movie’s foreign appeal is uncertain (Identity Thief barely made more overseas than its US opening weekend), but with a moderate $45M production budget, it should be nicely profitable and very possibly sequel-worthy.

The same can’t remotely be said of WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Sony), with a $9M Friday that probably means a $25M weekend.  Sony Marketing may have missed the boat on this one:  the people, including this writer, who enjoyed WHD had fun because the movie was so over-the-top silly that it was fun in almost a self-parodic way.  The ad campaign, though, plugged it as just another boom-boom gritty action movie, and there have been plenty of those already this summer.  As it is, WHD won’t come close to the $30.4M opening the much-cheaper Olympus Has Fallen had a few months ago, and although the new movie should do much better overseas (Olympus has only earned $62.1M outside the US), it’s still doomed to red ink.  (Note:  unlike most of the summer’s big openings, WHD is opening slowly and gradually overseas, so Sony won’t know where it really stands for several weeks.)  Apart from everything else, the opening deals a crushing blow to the industry’s hope that Channing Tatum would be the first real action star to emerge in the last several years.

HOLDOVERS:  MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) was down just 53% from its opening day to $14.3M, and that should mean a mere 45% or so drop for the weekend to $50M or so, much better than Pixar’s last two releases.  The only stone in the road is the opening of Despicable Me 2 on Tuesday night.

WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) dropped a heavy 65% to $8.9M on Friday, which may get it to $30M for the weekend if Sunday is strong.  It seems likely to end up in the $175M neighborhood in the US, and with a $350M+ cost for production and marketing, that means overseas strength will be the difference between breakeven and failure.

MAN OF STEEL (Warners) continues falling, down another 52% from last Friday to $6M, with a $20M weekend in the offing.  It will probably make around $285M in the US, and so far doesn’t seem likely to make much more than that overseas.  A $600M worldwide total will give the movie some profit, but it doesn’t suggest a thriving franchise, especially since word of mouth is evidently not strong.  (Considering the higher cost, and that this time ticket prices included 3D and Imax premiums, the overall result won’t be so much higher than the $391.1M earned worldwide by the much-maligned Superman Returns.)  The new management at Warners will have some big decisions to make about where to go with Superman after this.

THIS IS THE END (Sony) and NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate)  are still the strongest holdovers, down respectively 37% and 28% from last Friday, and should be on their way to tidy if not huge profits if they perform overseas.  THE BLING RING (A24) collapsed in its second weekend, down 65% and unlikely to crack $1M for the weekend.

LIMITED RELEASE:  On a slow weekend for newcomers, Pedro Almodovar’s I’M SO EXCITED (Sony Pictures Classics) should be headed for a solid per-theatre average of over $20K at 5 in NY/LA.

NEXT WEEK:  Wednesday (which is to say 7PM Tuesday night) brings two big openings.  DESPICABLE ME 2 (Universal) will already have $50M in the bank from overseas openings when it arrives here, and should romp through the long 4th of July holiday.  It faces off with the single biggest risk of the summer, THE LONE RANGER (Disney), which (with marketing) costs at least $400M, has little apparent foreign appeal apart from the presence of Johnny Depp, and 3 days before opening hasn’t allowed a single review to be published.  Counterprogramming both of those in a semi-wide 800-theatre release is the Kevin Hart concert movie LET ME EXPLAIN.  On Friday, THE WAY, WAY BACK (Fox Searchlight) will open in limited release and attempt to reverse Searchlight’s year-long losing streak at the box office.


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."