March 16, 2013



OPENINGS:  No one expected THE CALL (TriStar/Sony) or THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE (Warners) to win this weekend.  Call, though, is overperforming, and by Sunday it should be in a position to recoup its $15M (plus marketing) cost–not a big win for Halle Berry, but one of the first she’s ever had as a solo star.  Burt Wonderstone, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to have any chance of recouping its costs, partly because while its production budget was a mild $32M, Warners threw marketing dollars at it, to little effect.  2 of Steve Carell’s next 3 films are unconventional indies (the drama Foxcatcher and Charlie Kaufman’s Frank or Francis), and with that and a supporting role in the Anchorman sequel, it’ll be interesting to see where he stands in a year or so.  (He’s also the lead voice in Despicable Me 2.)

HOLDOVERS:  The second Friday number for OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Disney) was higher than the preliminary estimates, and it should exceed $40M for the weekend and have a Weekend 2 in line with the 45% declines for Alice in Wonderland and The Lorax.  That still isn’t likely to push the US gross much higher than $220M or so, and tomorrow’s international number will be crucial in determining where the boxoffice really stands for the massively-budgeted tentpole.

With no strength in the newcomers, holdovers were very steady–even JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (Warners) fell only 31% from last Friday, although it’s too late for that to do any good.  The only films in the top dozen to fall more than 40% from last Friday were last weekend’s disastrous DEAD MAN DOWN (FilmDistrict), 21 AND OVER (Relativity) and A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th).  The last-named, incidentally, suffered the ignominy of being passed by SAFE HAVEN (Relatvity) at the US boxoffice.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Fueled by feverish media interest in its Disney Girls Gone Wild casting, Harmony Korine’s SPRING BREAKERS (A24) is off to a sensational start, likely to have a $100K per theatre average at 3 venues.  Its big challenge comes next week, when it expands to 600 locations and audiences discover that it’s more of an abstract art object than an entertainment.  The misbegotten Kirsten Dunst/Jim Sturgess fantasy UPSIDE DOWN (Millenium) will likely have only a $3K average at 11.  And STOKER (Fox Searchlight) continues to face steadily diminishing returns, as an expansion from 17 theatres to 94 yielded what’s likely to be just a $3500 per-theatre average, half of last week’s average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  OZ faces its first real challenge from THE CROODS (DreamWorks Animation/20th), the first DreamWorks cartoon to be released by Fox.  In addition, Gerard Butler will attempt to end his deadly streak at the boxoffice with the action thriller OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (FilmDistrict), and in a completely different part of the movie universe, Tina Fey and Paul Rudd will no doubt be charming as hell in the rom-com ADMISSION (Focus/Universal).  Thinking of charming, the enormously likable historical musical THE SAPPHIRES (Weinstein) will enter limited 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."