September 21, 2013



OPENINGS:  PRISONERS (Warners) came in at $7M on Friday, a bit less than the initial $7.5M estimate.  That could indicate cooling word-of-mouth as the evening went on, or just overenthusiastic estimators.  The number is still above Argo‘s $5.9M start but it’s below the $8.3M for The Town, two other adult thrillers Warners released in September.  Today will be key, as Argo climbed 47% on Saturday and The Town was up 13%.  Meanwhile, fans of BATTLE OF THE YEAR (Screen Gems/Sony) were as hard to find as feminist Chris Brown supporters, as the urban musical featuring Brown was nothing but ugly with a $1.5M start.  (Even the last Step Up movie, the one you didn’t know existed, pulled in $4.9M on its first day.)

HOLDOVERS:  There was no sign of Conjuring-like word of mouth for INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 (FilmDistrict), which fell 77% from its opening day last week to $4.7M.  But a $75M US total for a movie with perhaps $35M in production/marketing costs is still a big win. THE FAMILY (Relativity), in its very different genre, was just as wan on its second Friday, down 61% to $2.1M.  It’s headed for a US total under $40M.

INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED (Lionsgate) continues to amaze, down a tiny 3% from last Friday to $1.4M.  It could reach $45M before it’s done, with negligible costs by big-studio standards, and will spawn many imitators.  Other healthy long runs include WE’RE THE MILLERS (Warners) down 22%, THE BUTLER (Weinstein) down 32%, PLANES (Disney) down 23% and PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (20th) down 11%. RIDDICK (Universal), dropped 54% from last Friday and won’t get much past $40M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  A pair of big festival titles made their debuts.  ENOUGH SAID (Fox Searchlight), boosted by a spectacular NY Times review, in-theatre Q&As and the presence of James Gandolfini in one of his final roles (and perhaps the most sheerly lovable of his career), started with a $16K average in 4 NY/LA theatres, and should have a $55-60K average for the weekend.  RUSH (Universal), briefly stopping at 5 NY/LA garages before going wide next week, was slower with a $13K average that should give it $45-50K in each for the weekend–a somewhat soft number given its higher budget and marketing.  Other indies were puny, with THANKS FOR SHARING (Roadside) particularly bad at a likely weekend average of $2K or so at 269 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (Sony) will dominate, while BAGGAGE CLAIM (Fox Searchlight) will aim at its niche audience and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s DON JON (Relativity) will try to take advantage of strong festival reviews and the absence of other adult comedies in the market.  Also, as noted, Rush will vroom into wide 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."