December 1, 2012



The bloodshed in this weekend’s new arrivals extended to the movies themselves.

OPENINGS:  KILLING THEM SOFTLY (Weinstein), with a $2.5M Friday, may become Brad Pitt’s lowest opening live-action wide release ever at around $7M, and it won’t be helped going forward by a shockingly bad exit poll grade of F from opening night audiences.  This was an indie movie that Weinstein tried (half-heartedly) to turn into a  multiplex title because of Pitt and the body count, and the experiment failed.  No one expected the torture porn thriller THE COLLECTION (LD) to reach beyond its core genre audience, and it won’t, headed for perhaps a $3M weekend after $1.2M on Friday.

HOLDOVERS:  Friday-to-Friday comparisons look particularly grim, because last Friday was part of a holiday weekend–with one exception, everything in the market fell over 60% for the day, although the declines will moderate over the rest of the weekend.  The line-up at the top, however, remained the same.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate), with $5.6M, was slightly ($150K) above the parallel date for Breaking Dawn 1, although it’s still running about $2M behind New Moon for franchise bragging rights.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) is so far beyond the rest of its 50-year franchise that comparisons don’t make sense anymore; it should earn another $15M this weekend on its way to at least $275M in the US, plus $600M overseas.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) continues to be remarkably popular as it heads toward becoming (with the exceptions of War of the Worlds and the last Indiana Jones) Steven Spielberg’s biggest hit in a decade.

LIFE OF PI (20th) has now edged ahead of RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount), but that leaves both of them in a mediocre place, probably close to $50M at the end of the weekend and on the road to $80-90M in the US, not nearly enough for their expensive production and marketing costs.  Pi will need to hope for some support from the critics’ awards that will start to be announced next week.  The much less costly RED DAWN (FilmDistrict) may get to $40M+.  ARGO (Warners) will go over the $100M mark today.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The studio opted not to expand SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) beyond its 371-theatre run this week, and as a result its strong word of mouth gives it by far the best hold of the day, down only 44% from last week’s holiday Friday.  However, it’s still doing only moderate business, with what will probably be about an $8K per-theatre average this weekend.  (By comparison, that’s the same average The Descendants had in the parallel weekend last year in 200 more theatres.)  ANNA KARENINA (Universal/Focus) expanded to 384 theatres, and should have a fairly sturdy $6K average, considering its more esoteric appeal.  HITCHCOCK (Fox Searchlight) went to 50 theatres, and while its $8K average doesn’t sound bad compared to the other two, at that number of theatres it’s not very promising.  (The bombing Sessions had a $7K average when it went to 69 theatres.)

NEXT WEEKEND:  The drought continues, with only one semi-major opening, the theoretically heartwarming sex comedy PLAYING FOR KEEPS (FilmDistrict), as well as the limited release of HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus/Universal), which is probably more of a Best Actor possibility for Bill Murray as FDR than a Best Picture candidate.

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."