December 22, 2012



After a strong start with Skyfall and Breaking Dawn Part 2, the holiday boxoffice seems to be at risk of languishing.

OPENINGS:  The thing about the Christmas/New Year’s week boxoffice multiple is that it’s real and will help every movie in theatres during the holiday season, but it’s only as good as the number it’s mutiplying. So far, those numbers are unimpressive at best and nosing toward dismal.  JACK REACHER (Paramount) leads the group with a $5.1M Friday, but that may only mean about $45M by New Year’s, and perhaps $70M total, far from last year’s Mission: Impossible 4 bonanza.  It may mean that Tom Cruise is now just another actor who needs a major franchise behind him to push ticket sales.  THIS IS 40 (Universal) made $3.7M on Friday, headed for perhaps $35M by January 1 and $50M before it’s done, which would put it just around the same place as Judd Apatow’s disappointing last film Funny People, with its $51.9M earnings.    THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) is in even more dire shape, with $1.5M on Friday (added to $2M from Wed-Thurs grosses).  It may only get to $15M over the holidays, and a $25M total.  The 3D reissue of MONSTERS INC (Disney/Pixar) had the same $1.4M Friday as Guilt Trip, but will overperform, comparatively speaking, with the family audience available during the holidays.  CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY (Paramount) is playing at only 840 theatres, with 2 shows per day.  Given that, its $800K Friday doesn’t look so bad, although it’s still unlikely to make more than $15M or so.

HOLDOVERS:  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) is likely to fall 60% in its 2d weekend after a $10.2M Friday.  Comparisons to the Lord of the Rings trilogy don’t really work, because those films all had the holiday period in their first weekends, but while Hobbit looks like it will be the big moneymaker of this season, it’s on track to be at only around $210M by January 1, which would be $50M less than Return of the King had on that date.  Among the longer running titles, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) is benefiting in a big way from the absence of any other new family movies in the market, and will likely increase in its 5th week of release (although with only $75M earned to date, even $100M is a long way off).  Other stalwarts are also holding well, including LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th), SKYFALL (Sony/MGM), LIFE OF PI (20th) and ARGO (Warners), which should all be down only around 30% for the weekend.

LIMITED RELEASE:  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) is headed for a superb $90K average at each of its 5 NY/LA theatres, with everything else far behind. AMOUR (Sony Classics) could earn $20K in each of 3, ON THE ROAD (IFC) $17.5K at each of 4,  THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate) should be around $9K in each of 15, NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) $6K in each of 3, and BARBARA (Adopt) only about $4K in each of 14 despite glowing reviews.  Meanwhile, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein), still at 371 theatres, is headed for a $4500 average in its 6th week of release.

LATER THIS WEEK:  The final major releases of the year arrive on Tuesday, with LES MISERABLES (Universal), DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) and PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th) all arriving for their very different audiences.  (Try to guess which 2 of the 3 are among the best of the year.)  Also opening Tuesday in limited release is the acclaimed documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS (Sony Pictures Classics), while the final limited release of 2013, Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND (Focus/Universal), written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, arrives 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."