May 18, 2013



OPENINGS:  STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) is the first underperformer of the summer, and there will be plenty of harrumphing and speculation about why that is.  With Sunday likely to be much weaker than last weekend’s Mother’s Day, Darkness will be hard-pressed to match in 4 days (plus Wednesday night screenings) the $79.2M that 2009’s Star Trek made in 3+ days (Paramount will no doubt estimate it higher tomorrow if it conceivably can)–even though Darkness had strong reviews for a franchise picture, plus 3D and Imax ticket premiums.  (It also cost considerably more than the 2009 picture, $325M+ with marketing included.)  Was it blockbuster fatigue, just 3 weeks into the season?  Star Trek fatigue, after nearly 50 years?  Whatever it is, this is the kind of result that makes studio executives reach for their therapists.

HOLDOVERS:  Word of mouth caught up with THE GREAT GATSBY (Warner), which dropped 61% from last Friday.  Because of the weaker Sunday, that won’t stabilize as much as it would on an ordinary weekend, so it could be looking at a $20-22M weekend.  The early overseas results aren’t overwhelming:  now playing in most of the world, Gatsby made $17M through Friday.  But Baz Luhrmann’s movies tend to overperform internationally (Australia‘s international boxoffice more than tripled its business in the US), so it could still catch fire.

IRON MAN 3 (Disney), which passed $1B worldwide this week, is on a typical blockbuster trajectory, falling 50% or so each weekend (a probable $25-27M this weekend), and should be on its way to $400M+ in the US alone.  No other holdover this weekend is likely to make more than $3M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Boxoffice results for FRANCES HA (IFC) and other indie releases are unavailable so far–we’ll have an update on those tomorrow.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Memorial Day weekend brings the first head-to-head (-to-head) competition of the summer, with mega-sequels THE HANGOVER PART III (Warners), which opens Thursday, joined by FAST & THE FURIOUS 6 (Universal) and the animated EPIC (20th) on Friday.  They’ll all be counterprogrammed by the limited release BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics).



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."