April 20, 2013



OPENINGS:  OBLIVION (Universal) had a fairly good start, with a $13.3M Thursday night/Friday that should give it a $35-38M weekend, depending on word of mouth.  But that’s still lower than the $15.3M earned by GI Joe: Retaliation on its second day of release only 3 weeks ago, and at a probable higher cost (Universal claims Oblivion cost $120M to produce, while other reports have it as high as $160M).  With at least $275M in production and worldwide marketing costs to recoup, Oblivion is yet another big-budget movie that will rely on international boxoffice to break-even.  It had a good start last weekend with over $60M overseas (including mid-week business, its overseas total is at $100M), but is now playing in most of the world’s territories, so its Weekend 2 result tomorrow will be critical.

In its expansion to general release, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (Focus/Universal) had a $1.4M Friday in 1542 theatres, making for a likely $4-4.5M weekend.  That’s not bad for a long, arty drama, but now that Pines is incurring big-release marketing costs, the numbers doesn’t suggest the kind of breakout success the film would need to be profitable, despite the presence of Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling in the cast.

HOLDOVERS:  42 (Warners) is riding strong word of mouth to an excellent hold, down only 43% from last Friday to $5.2M and a probable $17M weekend.  The only drawback for Warners is that 42 is unlikely to have much overseas value.  SCARY MOVIE 5 (Dimension/Weinstein) fell apart in its second weekend, down 63% on Friday to $2.1M and headed for a $6M weekend.

THE CROODS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) led the long-runners, down just 27% from last Friday in its 5th weekend, and the 38% drop for OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Disney) and 40% drop for OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (FilmDistrict) were also solid.  GI JOE: RETALIATION (Paramount/MGM) was off 47%, while EVIL DEAD (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict), JURASSIC PARK 3D (Universal) and TEMPTATION (Lionsgate) were all down more than 50%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  There were several mid-level releases this weekend, led by FILLY BROWN (Lionsgate), making its debut more than a year after its Sundance premiere with a not-bad $670K in only 188 theatres, which should give it a $2M weekend and a per-theatre average around $10K.  HOME RUN (IDP) was weaker in 348 theatres with $552K, heading for a $1.5M weekend and perhaps a $5K average. THE LORDS OF SALEM (Anchor Bay) had only $283K in 354 theatres, and will quickly head back to its coven with a $700K weekend and $2K average.  The only notable exclusive release was IN THE HOUSE (Cohen Media), likely to have only a $4K average at 16 theatres.  In its second semi-wide weekend, TRANCE (Fox Searchlight) c0llapsed, down 60% from last Friday for a probable $350K weekend and an average that won’t even reach $1000.

NEXT WEEKEND:  An almost perfect example of counterprogramming in practice, as Michael Bay’s (literally) testosterone-fueled Mark Wahlberg/Dwayne Johnson vehicle PAIN AND GAIN (Paramount) does battle with the ensemble rom-com THE BIG WEDDING (Lionsgate).  In addition, several art-house films will try to find a toehold before the summer blockbuster season squeezes all the oxygen out of the multiplex, with festival titles ARTHUR NEWMAN (Cinedigm), KON-TIKI (Weinstein), AT ANY PRICE (Sony Pictures Classics), MUD (Roadside Attractions) and THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST (IFC) all clamoring for attention at once.

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."