June 15, 2013



OPENINGS:  Is it a danger sign or just one of overexuberance that the Friday estimates for MAN OF STEEL (Warners) diminished during the day, slipping from over $50M to the final estimate of $44.1M?  We’ll know a lot more on Sunday, when word of mouth has kicked in.  In any case, the gigantic amount of resources poured into the opening (not just from Warners, but its razor-company, restaurant chain, smartphone and other marketing partners–not to mention Wal-Mart) bought the film the #20 opening day of all time and the 2d biggest of the year, behind Iron Man 3.  For now, the safe bet is that the studio’s weekend estimate will top $110.3M, the number it needs to beat Toy Story 3 as the biggest June opening ever–although it’s considerably less clear whether that number will hold on Monday, when final numbers come in.  Overseas results are fragmentary for now, but Steel made $17.6M on Friday in 24 foreign territories, with particular strength in the UK.

THIS IS THE END (Sony) was intended as R-rated comic counterprogramming to Man of Steel, and it performed well as that with a $6.9M Friday (on top of $12.3M on Wednesday and Thursday).  Its 5-day result should equal its $32.5M production cost, with no real competition until The Heat (which may skew older and more female) arrives on June 28.

It doesn’t look as though BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) is going to be a breakout hit, as the indie franchise expanded–perhaps unwisely–to 897 theatres and after a $425K Friday is headed for just a $1.4M weekend and a dim $1500 per-theatre average.  It should beat the $5-6M results for predecessors Before Sunrise and Before Sunset before it’s done, but it isn’t reaching the audiences who aren’t already fans.

HOLDOVERS:  Friday honors go to the little summer movie that could, NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate), which had the smallest Friday-to-Friday dip in the Top 10 at 46% with $3.3M.  It should have $80M up its sleeve by Sunday, and be well on its way to $100M+.  Everything else was down 56% or more, with the biggest crashes reserved for last weekend’s openings.  THE PURGE (Universal) collapsed by 83%, and while that will stabilize a bit over the course of the weekend, it’s still going to fall 75% by Sunday, on its way to $70M.  THE INTERNSHIP (20th) had no takers either, down 65% from last Friday and unlikely even to reach $50M.  This was EPIC’s (20th) last chance at a big weekend before Pixar arrives, but it won’t even be at $100M by Sunday.  THE GREAT GATSBY (Warners) lost almost half its theatres and is basically done, with about $140M in the US and the same overseas–because of its huge cost, that will only bring it near breakeven, but considering the movie’s advance buzz, that has to go in the books as at least a moral victory.  AFTER EARTH (Sony) fell deeper into the abyss, down another 67% from last Friday and looking like it won’t hit $65M in the US, a dead loss even if overseas doubles the results here.  STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) is looking like a worldwide wash with 2009’s Star Trek (bigger overseas, but lower in the US), despite 3D/Imax ticket prices and $50M higher production cost.  On the plus side, FAST & FURIOUS 6 (Universal) has now passed Fast Five as the franchise’s biggest US hit, with $595M worldwide so far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE BLING RING (A24) is off to a fast start, with what should be a $55K per-theatre average in 5 NY/LA theatres.  MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Lionsgate) more than tripled its theatre count to 28, yet still dropped almost 40% Friday-to-Friday.  Part of that is due to the exceptionally pumped-up numbers from last week’s opening day due to multiple celebrity Q&As, but it still may have no more than a $6K average this weekend.  MUD (Roadside Attractions) finally fell to earth, losing almost one-third of its theatres and falling more than 50% from last Friday, but it still has a shot of moving past The Place Beyond the Pines as the year’s biggest indie so far.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Two very contrasting 3D openings, with MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) aiming for the family crowd whlie WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) goes after the seemingly inexhaustible audience hunger for zombies.


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."