October 27, 2013



OPENINGS:  BAD GRANDPA (Paramount) romped to 1st place at the multiplexes this weekend with $32M, but perhaps more notably, it also made $8.4M in just 16 overseas territories.  That’s the same level as Jackass 3D, which ended up making $54M internationally, a tremendous success for such a low-budget franchise.  Bad Grandpa 2 seems all but inevitable.

Don’t hold your breath for a sequel to THE COUNSELOR (20th), which flopped badly with $8M.  The spin from 20th is that this project was a gift the studio gave to Ridley Scott as thanks for Prometheus (you know, the picture that was such a hit there’s no sequel in motion after 18 months, even though it was meant to start a franchise?).  Whatever–the studio spent the last few weeks firing the team that green-lit and marketed the film, so it’s sort of a gimme at this point.  The only one likely to feel any taint is Michael Fassbender, who will still star in high-profile projects, but who’s clearly generated no public goodwill despite miles of press attention.  (Also, Cameron Diaz may not be playing a femme fatale again anytime soon.)

HOLDOVERS:  GRAVITY (Warners) may have fallen from 1st place, but the money is still piling in, $20.3M this weekend.  It will hit $200M tomorrow, and it also brought in $36.6M overseas for an international total of $164.4M (and major territories like the UK, Japan and China still to open).  CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (Sony) is a much lower-key hit, but still an impressive one, dropping just 28% in its 3rd weekend to $11.8M ($70.1M so far), with its international release just getting started.  With younger-skewing epics due to dominate the next few weeks (Ender’s Game, Thor 2, Hunger Games 2), it should hold onto its niche for a while.  CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (Sony) hit $100M today after a $6.1M weekend, running about 8% behind its predecessor.  It’s also earned $49.2M overseas, where its release is still in progress.

None of last weekend’s openings had any legs, as CARRIE (Screen Gems/Sony/MGM) fell 63% to $5.9M, ESCAPE PLAN (Lionsgate) dropped 56% to $4.3M, and THE FIFTH ESTATE (DreamWorks/Disney) plunged 56% to an abysmal $560K.

ENOUGH SAID (Fox Searchlight) fell 11% despite increasing its theatre count by 10%, its per-theatre average down to $1900.

LIMITED RELEASE:  As we’ve been noting all weekend, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 123 theatres well but not spectacularly, with a $17.5K per-theatre average that’s just over half of where Precious was at this point in its run ($34K at 174 theatres), and also less than Blue Jasmine in terms of a pure art-house opening ($20K at 119).  Projecting outward, even though, objectively, a $20-25M gross for such a difficult, unsparing historical film would be a very strong result, it would also feel like a major disappointment given the level of attention and acclaim 12 Years has received.

Any chance of ALL IS LOST (Lionsgate/Roadside) being in the Oscar conversation for major awards beyond Best Actor is probably fading, as the film expanded to 81 theatres with a $6K average, and is unlikely to reach wide release–at least not successfully.

The initial numbers on BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (IFC) apparently included Canadian results, where the film has been playing (with a different distributor) for several weeks.  In the 4 theatres where IFC opened the film this weekend, it had a $25K average that was very promising, considering the limitations (NC-17 rating, 3-hour length, subtitles) that are built into its 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."