February 16, 2013



Even if Die Hard takes the weekend, it’s running on fumes.

OPENINGS:  A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th) cost at least triple the budget of SAFE HAVEN (Relativity), and had a more expensive marketing campaign as well.  Yet on Friday, only $75K separated the two–and that was after Safe Haven won Valentine’s Day to lead off the extended holiday weekend.  Die Hard is still expected to pull ahead over the rest of the weekend, but its US results will be far less profitable than the romance’s.  (However, Die Hard will be hugely more successful overseas, if previous results are any guide.)  A $35M 5-day opening would put the new Die Hard 25% below the opening for Live Free Or Die Hard, while the same amount would cover the entire production cost of Safe Haven.  A worldwide $275-300M total for a Die Hard movie, after $385M for the last entry, might be narrowly profitable (depending on how Bruce Willis’s deal works), but wouldn’t make future sequels very attractive.

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (Weinstein) took advantage of the odd lack of family movies in the market with $3.7M on its opening day, which should give it around $27M by Monday, not bad for a very low-budget animation with limited marketing costs.  No such luck for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (Warners), though, which saw its franchise hopes collapse with just $4.9M in its first 2 days.  Creatures had a reported budget of $50M and very heavy marketing, so it’s looking at a flood of red ink, the victim of a confused advertising campaign that mirrored the tonal problems of the movie itself.

HOLDOVERS:  IDENTITY THIEF (Universal) held well, and should be near $75M by Monday, well on its way to $100M+, but the real success story of the weekend is WARM BODIES (Summit/Lionsgate), which won’t make anywhere near Identity Thief‘s total, but which has been quietly finding an audience.  Bodies should be over $50M by Monday, a nice result for what could easily have been dismissed as a cult movie.  SIDE EFFECTS (Open Road) is falling fast, and may not reach $30M despite mostly favorable reviews and a starry cast.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) led the Oscar nominees once again, down just 10% from last Friday as it heads toward $100M by Oscar night.  And as the movie continues to rake in boxoffice, the Weinstein Company, as is its custom, has flooded the LA market with Academy Award consideration ads, looking for what would be an enormous upset next week.  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) now seems unlikely to reach $100M barring a surprise Oscar victory, while frontrunner ARGO (Warners), with a likely $2M weekend, it doing terrific business for a movie that’s coming out on homevideo in 4 days.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) will reach $175M tomorrow, and LIFE OF PI (20th) will hit $110M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Another slow weekend.  The Oscar-nominated NO (Sony Pictures Classics) should have an OK $20K 4-day average at 4 theatres, and Abbas Kiarostami’s LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE (IFC) might have a $8500 average at 3.  Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET (Weinstein) had another solid expansion, adding 89 theatres for a total of 333 and yet increasing its per-theatre average a bit to what should be about $5K over the 4-day holiday weekend.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Only 2 genre arrivals on Oscar weekend, the low-budget horror thriller DARK SKIES (Weinstein/Dimension) and Dwayne Johnson’s non-franchise SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate).

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."