January 5, 2013



They deleted Massacre from its title, but it’s still mowing down the competition.

OPENINGS:  Why does Hollywood make ultraviolent movies?  Because they sell tickets.  TEXAS CHAINSAW (Lionsgate) is overperforming its way to a surprisingly strong weekend win, with $10.2M on its first night.  Horror movies are hugely front-loaded, so it’s unlikely to be higher than $22.5-25M for the weekend, but it’s juice enough for that chainsaw to slaughter the competition.

In an entirely different realm of motion pictures, PROMISED LAND (Focus/Universal) stumbled in its expansion to 1676 theatres, and with $1.3M on Friday, will struggle to reach $4.5M for the weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  A disappointing amount of wind dropped from the sails of the holiday season’s Big 3.  Faring best was DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony), which should be down about 40% for the weekend after a $6.2M Friday, crossing the $100M mark and still looking to hit $150M.  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM), though, was down to $5.2M on Friday and headed to a likely $15M weekend, down more than 50%.  Its goal of reaching $300M is getting more distant.  LES MISERABLES (Universal) also took a heavy hit with a $4.9M Friday, on its way to a $15M weekend, down about 45%.  It will also pass $100M by Sunday, thanks to its huge opening day, but $150M may be a goal too far (the fortunes of Les Miz, however, will also depend on how it does during the next couple of months of awards season).

The next tier of holiday titles held more strongly.  PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th) should only be down about 35% from last weekend, hitting $50M and with the family market to itself for the forseeable future.  JACK REACHER (Paramount) and THIS IS 40 (Universal) should also be down 30-35%, on their way to $85M and $75M, respectively.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) continues its surprise smash run–it should be at $145M by the time the Oscar nominations (of which it’s expected to have a healthy share) are announced on Thursday.  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) is consistent, with very small drops (perhaps only 20% this weekend) but also no hint of breaking out into a mainstream hit; perhaps no other contender needs Oscar help as much as this one does.  The seasonal RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) dropped off the map, likely to be down more than 50% for the weekend, but it should stumble to $100M before it’s done.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Along with the very large Promised Land expansion, three other holiday films added theatres more moderately.  THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate), now at 572 theatres, should hit a fairly good $2.5M for the weekend, around a $4500 average (about the same per-theatre figure as Silver Linings Playbook at 745).  NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount, Vantage), however, is denying its title with a likely $250K in 565 very unhappy theatres, not even a $500 average. (David Chase owes Paramount a TV project after this one.)  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) took its first steps out of NY and LA brilliantly, rising to 60 theatres with around a $40K per-theatre average for the weekend.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The problematic GANGSTER SQUAD (Warners), which was postponed and reshot after the Aurora killings because of a violent sequence that took place at Grauman’s Chinese, finally makes its appearance.  A HAUNTED HOUSE (Open Road), which is basically Marlon Wayans’ version of a Scary Movie movie, is the only new competition.  However, Zero Dark Thirty will take advantage of its expected Oscar nomination bonanza by expanding nationwide.


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."