November 17, 2012



OPENINGS:  Was it the cash grab of splitting the final novel into 2 movies?  The tabloid antics of its stars?  In any case, “close but no cigar” seems to be the result for THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate).  Its $71.2M opening day (including Thursday 10PM and midnight screenings) is $400K below the start for Breaking Dawn 1, and $1.5M below franchise record-holder New Moon.  A likely $135M weekend would similarly make it the 3rd best of the Twilight openings, although not by much.  The series has been notoriously front-loaded, so its final result may be 4th best at $260-280M, ahead of only the original Twilight.

The news was smaller but better for LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th), surprisingly strong at only 1775 theatres with a $6.4M Friday that should mean an opening weekend over $20M.  That’s exceptionally good for a very serious 2 1/2 hour piece of history whose star, while brilliant, has never been a box-office draw, and it gives the picture plenty of room to expand and play through the holiday/awards season.

HOLDOVERS:  Considering what was expected to be highly enthusiastic word of mouth, and its appeal to older audiences who don’t flood theatres on opening weekend, the hold for SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) feels a little soft, with a 60% Friday-to-Friday decline that will likely stabilize around 55% for a roughly $40M weekend.  However, by Sunday, it should be within hailing distance of the current US record for the Bond franchise, Quantum of Solace‘s $168.4M, which it should pass over Thanksgiving, and of course that’s in addition to the giant $500M it’s already earned overseas.

FLIGHT (Paramount) added 565 theatres to its run, but still fell 40% from last Friday to $2.5M, suggesting it’ll end up with a $8.5M 3rd weekend and around $75-80M in the end.  WRECK-IT RALPH (Disney) is headed for a 45% drop, on its way to $160M or so.  ARGO (Warners) continues to lead the long-runners, down about 40% on its way to $100M.  Like Argo, TAKEN 2 (20th), PITCH PERFECT (Universal) and HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony) all lost theatres this week, and will fall 45-50%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Oscar hopefuls SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) and ANNA KARENINA (Focus/Universal) both began their runs with 16-theatre releases, and the early numbers have to be considered disappointing–particularly for Silver Linings, which is supposed to have the distinction of being the season’s crowd-pleaser.  Its $25-30K per-theatre average suggests there’s much work for Harvey Weinstein to do, with a 400-theatre expansion (cut back from the original plan) set for Wednesday.  Anna Karenina was even more rarefied, likely to have about a $20K average.  Where neither picture wants to end up is where THE SESSIONS (Fox Searchlight) now is:  expanded to 516 theatres, with a lousy per-theatre average that probably won’t hit $2000 for the weekend.

NEXT WEEK:  Because of the holiday, the bulk of the new arrivals start on Wednesday:  the expensive and ambitious literary adaptation THE LIFE OF PI (20th), animated RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount), and semi-orphaned RED DAWN (FilmDistrict), shot several years ago and caught up in MGM’s bankruptcy.  As noted, Silver Linings Playbook will also expand on Wednesday.  Friday brings 2 more awards hopefuls (mostly in the performance categories) in limited release: HITCHCOCK (Fox Searchlight), and RUST AND BONE (Sony Classics).

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."