November 10, 2013



OPENINGS:  THOR: THE DARK WORLD (Disney) held essentially even on Saturday, an excellent result for a franchise movie, especially where a chunk of its “Friday” number had come from Thursday night screenings.  (In comparison, Iron Man 3 dropped 10% on its second day of release.)  Presumably because of that strong Saturday hold, Disney is claiming a low 28% drop for Sunday, which may or may not hold up for its $86.1M weekend estimate.  But even if that number drops $1-2M, it’s still a highly successful launch.  In addition, Dark World took in another $94M overseas for the weekend (with Japan and Italy among the territories still to open), giving it $241M outside the US–already almost equal to the first Thor‘s $268.3M overseas total.  Dark World looks like a good bet to top $600M worldwide, unless the arrival of the Hunger Games sequel in 2 weeks cuts its run short.

In its expansion to 1144 theatres, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight) was solid at $6.6M, a $5800 per-theatre average.  Searchlight reportedly plans to continue expanding the run to at least 1300 locations next weekend, which should keep the weekend total relatively steady while shrinking the per-screen average.  It’s the same strategy the studio used on Enough Said, although that film is now running out of steam at $16M.

It’s anyone’s guess how ABOUT TIME (Universal) can justify a weekend estimate of $5.2M that relies on an incredibly low Sunday drop of 7%, by far the lowest of any film this weekend.  (It had a 27% Saturday bump, but the Saturday bump for 12 Years was 55%, and that film is reporting a 35% drop on Sunday.)  If that somehow holds up in final numbers tomorrow, it would have to be considered a fairly successful debut, with a $4300 per-theatre average.  It seems more likely that the weekend total will drop below $5M tomorrow.

HOLDOVERS:  Even if ENDER’S GAME (Summit/Lionsgate) had been a hit, it would have faced a major challenge from Thor in its second weekend.  With the tepid start Ender’s ended up having, this weekend was going to be ugly, and Ender‘s dropped 62% to $10.3M.  Its fortunes now depend entirely on success overseas, where its run has barely started.

FREE BIRDS (Relativity) and LAST VEGAS (CBS) held on much more successfully, down respectively 29% to $11.2M and 32% to $11.1M, and both headed for $50M+ in the US.  In its third weekend, BAD GRANDPA (Paramount) fell 43% to $11.3M (obviously the order of these three titles, so closely packed together, may shift with final numbers tomorrow), at a $78.7M total so far and $100M in its sights.

Among longer runs, GRAVITY (Warners) and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (Sony) are still the champs.  Gravity was down 35% to $8.4M ($231M in the US and $241M overseas, with some territories still to open), and Phillips slipped 31% to $5.8M ($91M in the US and $55M overseas so far).

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE BOOK THIEF (20th) had an OK opening with a $27K average at 4 NY/LA theatres.  Most of the action this weekend, though, came from expansions.  ALL IS LOST (Lionsgate/Relativity) widened to 401 theatres with an unexciting $3K average.  DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (Focus/Universal) held well in its move to 35 theatres, averaging $18K.  BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (IFC) wasn’t as strong as it almost doubled its run to 71 theatres with a $3600 average.  THE ARMSTRONG LIE (Sony Pictures Classics) didn’t have much with a $6200 average in its debut at 5 theatres.

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."