August 24, 2013



OPENINGS:  THE WORLD’S END (Focus/Universal) is off to a very solid start, with a $2250 per-theatre average on Friday in just 1549 theatres, giving it a $3.5M day and a weekend that could hit $10M.  That compares well to the other entries in Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” even though World’s End has the widest opening of the trio:  Shaun of the Dead began with a $1900 average at 607 theatres, and Hot Fuzz started with a $2600 average at 825.  It’s also comparable to opening day (a Wednesday) for the season’s other apocalyptic fantasy comedy This Is the End, which had a $2600 average in 3055 theatres.  It’ll be interesting to see how World’s End fares over time, because on the one hand it’s a sci-fi genre comedy that would normally be frontloaded, but on the other, its characters are middle-aged, which could bring out an older crowd that doesn’t flock to opening weekend.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS:  CITY OF BONES (Screen Gems/Sony), which is in more than double the number of theatres as World’s End, looks like it’s going to perform marginally better than Beautiful Creatures did last Spring, after a $3.1M Friday that might give it a $9M weekend and $14M since Wednesday (Creatures, which had a Thursday opening, made $2.3M on its first Friday and $10.1M in its first 4 days).  But parsing the relative performance of flops doesn’t mean much.  Screen Gems is only on the hook for US rights to the $60M YA production ($150-175M with worldwide marketing), but even that limited investment is at risk.

The reviews for YOU’RE NEXT (Lionsgate) were almost as strong as those for The Conjuring, with 79% favorable on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 86%, but this time nobody cared.  You’re Next managed just a $3M Friday, and probably won’t get past $8M for the weekend (Conjuring had a $17M Friday and $41.9M opening weekend).  You’re Next is micro-budgeted, but Lionsgate still had to pay for marketing, and a potential $20M US gross won’t earn that back.

BLUE JASMINE (Sony Pictures Classics) hit semi-wide release at 1237 theatres, and had limited success with $1.1M (a roughly $900 per-theatre average), with a $4M weekend likely.  That’s significantly below the wide release of Midnight In Paris, which had a $1600 average in its first day at 944 theaters, and a $1300 average when it hit 1038 theatres.  Still, Blue Jasmine should be near $15M by the end of the weekend, and even if it only reaches a $25M total, that will make it Woody Allen’s second-highest grossing film since his 1970s-80s heydey.

HOLDOVERS:  THE BUTLER (Weinstein) did quite well on its second Friday, down just 43% from opening day to $4.8M.  That’s not quite the consistency of The Help (that film slipped just 24% to $5.8M on the parallel day), but it’s a very solid success.  Butler should earn $16M for the weekend and pass $50M with several weeks to come before serious competition arrives, giving it a real possibility of hitting $100M.

Thinking of $100M, WE’RE THE MILLERS (Warners) should get there by Labor Day, after another sparkling performance.  It fell just 26% from last Friday to $4M, and will be over $90M by Sunday. a sensational result for a relatively inexpensive comedy.

Last week’s non-Butler openings fell steeply.  KICK-ASS 2 (Universal) plunged 78% from last Friday to a puny $1.3M–it’ll be lucky to reach $30M in the US, a complete write-off pending foreign results.  JOBS (Open Road) and PARANOIA (Relativity) each fell 66% to a respective $900K and $400K, and won’t get to a respective $20M or $10M.

Among longer runs, PLANES (Disney) held nicely, down just 37% to 2.3M, and it might climb to $80M on a limited budget.  ELYSIUM (TriStar/Sony) fell 49% to $2M, on its way to an inadequate $80M in the US, and PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (20th) was down 43% to $1.5M, likely to end up shy of $60M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE GRANDMASTER (Weinstein) began well with a $5600 average at 7 theatres, and could have a $20K average for the weekend.  The marvelous SHORT TERM 12 (Cinedigm) kicked off with a good $5K average at 4 (admittedly hyped with in-theatre Q&As) and could get to a $15K+ average for the weekend.  DRINKING BUDDIES (Magnolia), which has been available on VOD for several weeks, had a $3K average at 2 theatres and might reach a $10K weekend average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The final weekend of the summer is traditionally a weak one, and this year will be no exception.  The British thriller CLOSED CIRCUIT (Focus/Universal) will open on Wednesday, aiming for the moderate success that international thrillers The Debt and The American have had over Labor Day weekend in recent years.  On Friday, the junky thriller GETAWAY (Warners) will go after the Transporter 2/Crank Labor Day audience, and for those who passionately care, the concert doc ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US (TriStar/Sony) will be unleashed.

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."