October 6, 2012



Liam Neeson, superstar.

OPENINGS:  TAKEN 2 (20th) is on track for an opening in the high-$40Ms, which would make it the biggest weekend #1 since late July’s 2nd weekend of The Dark Knight Rises.  Since the movie only cost around $45M to produce (not including substantial marketing costs), it’s already assured of success, and Taken 3 should be on the assembly line soon enough (this time Neeson has a 2nd cousin who’s abducted?).  FRANKENWEENIE (Disney), though, marks Tim Burton’s 2nd misfire of the year after Dark Shadows, headed for a $13-14M start that will be lucky to tie ParaNorman‘s opening at a far higher cost.  The combination of opening just a week after the giant Hotel Transylvania, the black-and-white, and the generally insular look of the film probably all contributed to the failure.  PITCH PERFECT (Universal), in its first wide weekend, should be in the same $13-14M area, but with a budget roughly one-quarter of Frankenweenie‘s.  There isn’t another wide opening aimed at young women until Fun Size on Oct 26, so Pitch has plenty of time to play out if word of mouth is strong.

HOLDOVERS:  HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (Sony) was barely dented at all by the arrival of Frankenweenie, and should only fall around 35% for the weekend.  Sony’s own Here Comes the Boom may attract some of its young audience next weekend, but Transylvania has the animation field to itself until Wreck It Ralph arrives Nov. 2.  LOOPER (Tristar/Sony/FilmDistrict) is also holding well, with what should be a 40-45% decline despite the new competition from Taken 2 for the action audience.  It should end up with a healthy$60M US gross, director Rian Johnson’s biggest hit by far.  The triumvirate of END OF WATCH (Open Road), HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Relativity) and TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (Warners) continue their march to $35-40M totals, fine news for the first two but not for Clint, who was supposed to out-class these genre pieces with ease.  The news was mixed for THE MASTER (Weinstein), which is holding well (down probably less than 35% this weekend) but fading fast (still unlikely to total more than $15M).

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate) doubled its theatres to 221, but only rose around 25% from last Friday, not boding well for wide release with its per-theatre number likely down to about $7500 for the weekend.  The very crazy THE PAPERBOY (Millenium) should have a decent average of over $10K at 11 theatres.  Other openings (THE ORANGES, V/H/S) are looking sluggish.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Oscar season really begins with the arrival of Ben Affleck’s terrific ARGO (Warners).  The adult audience will choose from the comic thriller SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (CBS) and the horrorfest SINISTER (Summit/Lionsgate), with the aforementioned HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony) for families.

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."