December 15, 2012



OPENINGS:  This weekend consists of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) and then everything else.  Hobbit set a December opening day record with $37.5M, and it will set the opening weekend record for the month (currently held by I Am Legend with $77.2M), but it’s worth noting that its number isn’t very much higher than the $34.5M Wednesday opening for Return of the King, which had ticket prices at 2003 levels and no 3D or IMAX premiums.  (King also had midnight screenings of only $8M, compared to $13M for Hobbit, meaning that during opening day itself, King actually earned a bit more.)  None of this is to question that Hobbit is going to be a blockbuster hit–in addition to its US take, it’s already grossed $56M overseas–but we’ll find out between now and year’s end how frontloaded it turns out to be.

HOLDOVERS:  Nothing else was remotely close to Hobbit, with no major openings having arrived for the past 2 weeks.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) continues to hold spectacularly well, down only about 25% (with the addition of about 10% more theatres).  It’s already over $100M, and should thrive throughout the holidays.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM), RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) and LIFE OF PI (20th) are also holding well, with drops under 40% for each of them, although Guardians and Pi are both still struggling to get anywhere near $100M, and Skyfall could possibly reach $300M.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate), a more frontloaded franchise, will drop closer to 45-50%, but it’s still running ahead of all the Twilight movies except Eclipse, and it’s $10M in front of Breaking Dawn 1.  Skyfall is now less than $6M behind Breaking Dawn 2, a margin that will be lower by the end of the weekend, and there’s a good chance Bond will edge ahead of the vampires before both films are done.  (On a worldwide basis, Skyfall is already far ahead.)

Last week’s opening, the ill-fated PLAYING FOR KEEPS (FilmDistrict), didn’t find many fans, and will be down around 50% for the weekend to $3M or so, on its way to perhaps a $15M total.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) remains planted at 371 theatres, and its awards success over the week seems to have kicked in nicely, with a weekend that’s likely to be down only around 10% from last week (although its per-screen average of $5K or so is still nothing to cheer about).  HITCHCOCK (Fox Searchlight) didn’t get much mileage out of Helen Mirren’s Golden Globe and SAG nominations, expanding to 561 theatres with a per-screen average that may not reach $2K.  HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus/Universal) went to 36 theatres with an unimpressive probable $7500 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The deluge of holiday openings begins.  THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount), with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, will get a jump on the competition by opening on Wednesday (along with a 3D reissue of MONSTERS INC (Disney/Pixar)), then on Friday the Tom Cruise vehicle JACK REACHER (Paramount),  Judd Apatow’s THIS IS FORTY (Universal) and the performance documentary CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY (Paramount) arrive.  Meanwhile, the justly acclaimed ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) and critical favorite AMOUR (Sony Pictures Classics) go into limited release on Wednesday, followed by THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate)ON THE ROAD (IFC) and David Chase’s NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) on Friday.


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."