February 2, 2013



An ugly day, even by Super Bowl Weekend standards.

OPENINGS:  WARM BODIES (Summit/Lionsgate) proved to be decent counterprogramming by aiming at a young woman audience, and with a $7.6M Friday, should be on its way to a $18-20M weekend, and perhaps $50M before it’s done.  No such luck for BULLET TO THE HEAD (Warners), which along with January’s The Last Stand suggests that 1980s action heroes only have value when they’re banded together in an Expendables package (or, in Bruce Willis’s case a couple of weeks from now, in a Die Hard franchise).  Bullet had an arthritic $1.7M on Friday and will be lucky to hit $5M for the weekend, on a pace that won’t even pay for its domestic marketing–so Stallone will have to hope his international fans turn out in force for the movie.

HOLDOVERS:  You really have to hand it to Harvey Weinstein, once again.  People (myself included) questioned his extended release strategy for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein Company), but here we are in February and the movie is hitting its boxoffice stride–not coincidentally, just as the Academy is casting its Oscar votes.  Silver Linings will probably top $7.5M for the weekend–ahead of all the other Oscar nominees–and a $80M total, and now seems headed for what once appeared to be an inconceivable $100M+ finish.  The other major nominees are holding fine, with just an 11% drop for LIFE OF PI (20th)–now over $100M in the US, plus $400M+ overseas–and drops of 20-30% for LINCOLN (Disney/Dreamworks/20th), DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein Company/Sony), LES MISERABLES (Universal) and ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony), yet all of them are below Silver Linings this weekend.

The non-Oscar pictures are shakier.  All things considered, the probable 45-50% drop for HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (Paramount/MGM) isn’t so bad.  However, it still seems unlikely to exceed $50M, and it wasn’t a cheap movie to produce  MAMA (Universal), with good word of mouth on its side, is holding quite well, down only 40% in its third weekend, and possibly getting as high as $75M.  (Would Jessica Chastain ever consider a sequel, with where her career is now?  Or will Mama invade another house?)  PARKER (FilmDistrict) is falling 45-50% on its way to $20M and out, and that looks good compared to MOVIE 43 (Relativity), with a likely 65% plunge for the weekend and not much more than $10M before it escapes to homevideo.

LIMITED RELEASE:  STAND UP GUYS (Lionsgate) fell down with what will be about a $1.5M weekend (and a $2500 per-theatre average at 659).  QUARTET (Weinstein Company) expanded a bit to 202 theatres with what should be a decent $5K average.  Documentary Oscar nominee THE GATEKEEPERS (Sony Pictures Classics) is off to a good start with around a $20K average in 3 NY/LA theatres.  And sad as it is to say, KOCH (Zeitgeist) benefited from the sudden death of its protagonist on its opening day, and should have $15-20K in each of its 2 NY theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The first more or less major opening of the year is the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy IDENTITY THIEF (Universal).  For some of us, though, the bigger event is what Steven Soderbergh swears will be his last big-screen movie (he still has one coming up on HBO) before at least an extended hiatus:  the thriller SIDE EFFECTS (Open Road), with Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum.

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."