March 2, 2013



OPENINGS:  Here’s an idea of how disastrously JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (Warners) is bombing.  DreamWorks recently had to take an $87M loss on its Rise of the Guardians, which cost $145M (plus marketing costs) and grossed $300M worldwide.  Jack cost at least $50M more, and is on the road to earn much less with what looks to be an sub-$25M opening weekend (it could scrape up another few million if it plays as a “family movie” with a Saturday bump).  This puts even more pressure on Warners’ two hugely expensive summer spectacles Man of Steel and Pacific Rim to perform–and despite the “buzz” the studio is already planting with its media mouthpieces, neither is a sure thing.

The other openings are negligible.  Any hope that 21 AND OVER (Relativity) would recall the success of its writer/directors’ blockbuster Hangover franchise, or even of last year’s Project X, faded with a Friday that was only 40% of Project X‘s opening day.  THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 (CBS) likewise had an opening day that was just about one-third of its forebear’s start, despite some surprisingly respectful reviews.  Neither picture will reach $10M this weekend, but they look like smash hits next to PHANTOM (RCR), an Ed Harris/David Duchovny thriller that would seem to define “direct-to-pay-per-view,” but which unaccountably opened at over 1000 theatres.  It’s not quite Oogieloves, but it’s close, and should end up with one of the worst 10 per-theatre numbers ever for a release that wide.

Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET (Weinstein) stepped out of limited release by widening to 725 theatres and should have a modest $1.6M weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  The lack of heat from the newcomers helped some of the older titles hold on fairly well.  IDENTITY THIEF (Universal) slipped just 34% from last Friday and topped $100M, on its way to $125M+.  SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) was down 43%, and both it and A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th), which slumped 58% from last Friday, should end up around $70M, which is far better news for Safe HavenESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (Weinstein) was hit by Jack‘s arrival and dropped 45%, and last week’s openings didn’t prove to have any legs, as SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate) fell 50% from its opening day, and DARK SKIES (Dimension/Weinstein) plummeted 65%.

In post-Oscar bump territory, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) remains by far the highest-grossing of the winners currently in theaters, up 2% from last Friday and headed for another $6M weekend.  The king of the bumps, though, is LIFE OF PI (20th), which despite winning only Best Director and some technical awards zoomed 55% from last Friday for a weekend that should exceed $2M.  Best Picture winner ARGO (Warners), despite 5 months in theatres and DVD/pay-per-view availability, climbed 12%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The major arrival this weekend is Chan-wook Park’s thriller STOKER (Fox Searchlight), off to a solid start with what should be a $25K per-theatre average at 7.  Other openings will struggle to top a $2K average for the weekend.

NEXT WEEKEND:  If things go as planned, 2013 should have its first blockbuster opening with OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Disney), which will be gunning for the $116M start that Disney had with Alice in Wonderland almost exactly 3 years ago, although it’s more likely to match the $70M opening for last March’s The Lorax.  With the idea of generating a little counterprogramming business, DEAD MAN DOWN (FilmDistrict) will hope Colin Farrell’s name is still some kind of a draw.


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."