May 25, 2013



OPENINGS:  The $38.2M opening day for FAST & FURIOUS 6 (Universal) was the 28th biggest opening day of all time–not bad for a franchise that was floundering without either of its original stars 3 movies ago.  It has a chance of becoming the #2 Memorial Day opening ever, a mark currently held by the $126.9M for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  Even better for Universal, it’s a truly global franchise, with $36M earned overseas on Friday in 59 territories, on its way to what’s expected to be a $150M international weekend.  That would give it around $275M by Monday.  Fast Five ended up with $626.1M worldwide, and 6 should get to $700M or more.

On the other end of the spectrum, THE HANGOVER PART III (Warners) had a dismal start with $14.5M, and it’ll be lucky to hit $50M in the US over the 4-day holiday weekend ($61M including its Thursday opening).  That will put it at less than half the $135M 5-day opening for Part II just 2 years ago, a testimony to what damage an inferior installment and a badly-chosen opening weekend can do.  Nevertheless, Hangover III will probably end up with a modest profit (depending on the back-end deals for director Todd Phillips and the stars), because it has a moderate production budget, as summer tentpoles go (Warners says $105M), and it’s likely to overperform internationally by around 30%, as Part II did.  Still, with Great Gatsby and Hangover III doing essentially breakeven business, Warners is under even more pressure to make Man of Steel into a blockbuster 3 weeks from now.

EPIC (20th) had a moderate $9.4M start, below the $11.6M opening day for The Croods and the $13.9M Memorial Day weekend opening for the original Madagascar.  It’s heading for around $40M by Monday.  In its favor, though, it owns the family market for the next month, until Monsters University arrives on June 21, so it should hold well, and could get to the $150M neighborhood in the US.  The overseas market will be critical, since foreign audiences typically give 3D animated films enormous margins over the US results.

HOLDOVERS:  STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) declined 53% from last Friday (although that wasn’t its opening day, so the comparison is a bit skewed).  It’s likely to have a $45M 4-day weekend and $155M by the end of it.  That would put it a couple of million above 2009’s Star Trek–but with an extra day of release (thanks to the Thursday opening), a holiday weekend, and 3D/Imax ticket premiums, so the increase is illusory.  Tomorrow’s overseas update will, again, be hugely important, since Paramount put much of its marketing punch this time into increasing the franchise’s international appeal.

IRON MAN 3 (Disney) and THE GREAT GATSBY (Warners) both held well, down a respective 46% and 48% from last Friday.  By Monday they should be at about $375M and $120M in the US.  The latter movie is in need of strong foreign overperformance if it’s to get beyond breakeven.

Amid all these blockbusters, it’s worth noting that the low-budget MUD (Roadside Attractions) has found a toehold in the market.  Despite losing about a quarter of its theatres, it was down only 19% Friday-to-Friday.  While its $3500 per-theatre average isn’t anything to jump up and down about, it’s headed for a tidy $20M total boxoffice.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Not many indies wanted to compete with the behemoths this weekend.  BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) should have a very strong $75K average in 5 theatres over the 4-day weekend (a bit unusually, it opened in NY/LA and also in Austin, Texas, where director Richard Linklater is based).  WE STEAL SECRETS (Focus/Universal) should have an OK $9K 4-day average in 7 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Will Smith’s AFTER EARTH (Sony) will likely dominate NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate), but the buzz is muffled on After Earth, and it may not be up to Smith’s blockbuster usual.  Two notable Sundance titles will open in limited release:  THE EAST (Fox Searchlight) and THE KINGS OF SUMMER (CBS).

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."