September 28, 2013



OPENINGS:  CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (Sony) had an even softer Friday than the early numbers claimed with $9.3M.  That’s barely ahead of the first Cloudy‘s $8.1M, and sequels tend to be more frontloaded than originals, which means the $35M weekend estimates being thrown around this morning, which assume exactly the same multiple as the original, may be a stretch.  (The first Cloudy had a $30.3M first weekend and totaled $125M in the US and $243M worldwide.)  The movie cost a reasonable $78M to produce, and while that becomes $200M with global marketing, it should be profitable–but it’s not looking like a smash franchise.

RUSH (Universal) was hoping to propel itself deep into awards season, but $3.7M in its first day of wide release, with perhaps an $11M weekend, isn’t going to get it there.  (It may not even be in 2d place for the full weekend.)  Early foreign results are promising ($14M in 16 territories), so the $38M production ($150M with global marketing) could still do OK at the box office, but it may be off the slate for nominations other than in technical categories and perhaps Daniel Bruhl for Supporting Actor.

For those who follow CinemaScore grades, this weekend will be an interesting test case.  BAGGAGE CLAIM (Fox Searchlight) and DON JON (Relativity) were neck-and-neck on Friday with $3.3M, but Baggage had an A-, while Don Jon only reached a C+.  That should mean Baggage will wallop Don Jon for the weekend, if those grades mean anything.  Do they?

HOLDOVERS:  PRISONERS (Warners) had a solid hold with $3.4M, down 52% from last Friday (better than early numbers had estimated).  That should give it a weekend drop of under 50%, but not the exceptional ones that Argo (16%) and The Town (35%) gave Warners in recent Septembers.  INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2 (FilmDistrict) fell another 56% from last Friday to $2.1M, but with $64.9M already earned, the only question is how much profit it can expect.  WE’RE THE MILLERS (Warners), THE BUTLER (Weinstein) and INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED (Lionsgate/Televisa) continued to hold well, with Friday drops at 38-43%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  ENOUGH SAID (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 227 theatres with good results, perhaps an $8K per-theatre average for the weekend.  That compares to the $7200 average Searchlight had when The Way, Way Back went to 304 theatres (although Way Back, playing in summer, sold more midweek tickets), and should keep the movie on the awards radar.

NEXT WEEKEND:  GRAVITY (Warners) has the potential of shaking things up, that rare film that seems as though it can reach big box office numbers while earning rave reviews.  If it becomes a huge hit, it could disrupt the awards-seeking runs of Prisoners, Rush, and the upcoming Captain Phillips, among others.  The only other wide opening is RUNNER RUNNER (20th), a Justin Timberlake/Ben Affleck vehicle that’s causing little buzz so far.


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."