December 8, 2012



OPENINGS:  PLAYING FOR KEEPS (FilmDistrict) cratered as expected, in 6th place on its opening day with a sad $2.1M start.  It’s on its way to a $6M weekend and perhaps $15M in total, which won’t even pay off its marketing costs.

HOLDOVERS:  With essentially nothing new at the multiplexes, the longrunning hits mostly held very well.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) regained the lead with a $3.1M Friday that should give it a $10-11M weekend, bringing it to $260M+ and giving it a legitimate shot of reaching $300M by January 1.  This is, of course, in addition to its $600M haul overseas.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate), with a $2.8M Friday, is still ahead of Skyfall in the US by about $9M, but it’s a much more frontloaded franchise (the Friday-to-Friday fall was 49%, compared to 36% for Skyfall), so it could end up behind by the time both finish their runs.  Dawn, too, is reaping the lion’s share of its profits overseas, where it’s already made over $450M.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th), that sober history lesson no one would want to sit through, continues to thrive, earning another $2.6M on Friday (down only 36%) and on its way to $100M by next week, with the lucrative holidays still to come.

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) is now reaping the benefits of being the only family movie around, and it had the best Friday-to-Friday hold, down only 23% to $2.3M.  But even with a $10M weekend, it will only be at $60M+, with little chance of getting beyond $100M.  LIFE OF PI (20th) had virtually the same Friday (although Guardians, with its matinee audience, will pull ahead for the weekend), and is in the same place, a very expensive project looking at a US boxoffice under $100M. WRECK-IT RALPH (Disney) and FLIGHT (Paramount) were also steady, down about 31% from last Friday.  KILLING THEM SOFTLY (Weinstein) collapsed from its already wretched start, with $900K on Friday and unlikely to even reach a $20M total.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The only major arrival was HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus/Universal), which is heading for a merely OK $20K weekend average in only 4 NY/LA theatres.  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) decided not to expand again, and although it held well enough (down 30% from last Friday), its per-theatre average will be around $6K for the weekend, as it desperately seeks help from critics awards that have so far been minimal.  ANNA KARENINA (Focus/Universal) increased its theatre count by about 10% to 422, and its per-theatre average will likely fall below $4K for the weekend.  HITCHCOCK (Fox Searchlight) expanded badly to 183 theatres, heading for a $4K weekend average in last than half of Anna‘s theatres.  And as a cautionary tale, note LAY THE FAVORITE (Weinstein), which despite a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn and Rebecca Hall, is likely to have an astonishing per-theatre average of $400 in 61 stables.

NEXT WEEKEND:  A little picture called THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners) will make its way into theatres, justifiably scaring all the other studios into their caves.  Note:  the films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy all opened on Wednesdays, so comparisons with Hobbit will be difficult, but on their Friday-Sunday opening weekends, they respectively earned $47.2M/$62M/$72.7M.  One would expect Hobbit (which also carries 3D ticket premiums) to do significantly better, since Friday will be its first and not third day of release.

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."