November 17, 2013



OPENINGS:  THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (Universal) had a strong Saturday bump for a movie aimed at the African-American audience, up 16% from Friday (in comparison, Think Like A Man increased 9% and Tyler Perry’s last 2 movies dropped 16% and 8%). That suggests very positive word of mouth, which may give Best Man unexpected legs, although aside from the same Hunger Games steamroller everyone is about to face, it’ll have direct competition from Black Nativity in less than 2 weeks.  Considering that Think Like A Man almost tripled its opening weekend, and with a $30.6M start, Best Man has a chance of getting to $90M+.

HOLDOVERS:  Notwithstanding the surprising overperformance by Best Man Holiday, THOR: THE DARK WORLD (Disney) had no trouble holding on to the #1 slot with $38.5M (Disney is claiming the lowest Sunday drop in the Top 10, so that number may go down marginally tomorrow).  Its Weekend 2 decline of 55% isn’t quite as good as the 47% drop for the first Thor or the 50% drop for The Avengers, but it’s still doing just fine, tracking for a potential $200-220M in the US, a tidy increase from Thor‘s $181M.  Overseas, it’s already a monster, with $332.8M after a $52.5M weekend–far above the $268.3M that Thor totaled internationally in its entire run.  (This is the kind of franchise increase Hunger Games will be looking for next weekend.)  Dark World should reach $600M worldwide, and possibly $650M, compared to $449.3M for Thor.

LAST VEGAS (CBS) fell only 20% from last weekend to $8.9M, and with $47M earned so far, it has a strong chance of reaching $75M, easily the most successful movie CBS Films has ever released.  (Now let’s see what they can do for Inside Llewyn Davis.)  CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (Sony) was the weekend’s other standout, slipping just 21% to $4.5M in its 6th weekend, with $100M in the US dead ahead.  There were drops of 25-32% for FREE BIRDS (Relativity), BAD GRANDPA (Paramount), GRAVITY (Warners) and ABOUT TIME (Universal), fueling a market that’s overall very robust.  Also worth noting:  when we think about American movies overperforming internationally, we’re usually referring to big-budget spectacles, but Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE (Sony Pictures Classics) has already made $45M overseas compared to $33M in the US, making it a substantial hit worldwide.

One down note was 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight), which technically dropped 30% for the weekend to $4.7M, but accomplished that only by adding more than 20% to its theatre count.  Its per-theatre average dropped 43%, and that puts Searchlight in a tough position:  does it keep adding theatres to keep the weekend totals relatively steady while risking complete burnout before awards season even begins, or let the run level out, even though that will significantly lower each weekend’s take as new awards-caliber films like American Hustle, Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr Banks start arriving?  These are the hazards of an early fall opening.

LIMITED RELEASE:  NEBRASKA (Paramount) had a solid start with a $35K average in 4 NY/LA theatres.  The studio is (sensibly) taking it slow with what’s likely to be a tough sell in smaller markets, expanding to 10 cities next weekend.

The rest of the news came from expansions.  DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (Focus/Universal) widened to 184 theatres and maintained a fairly good average of $9700.  ALL IS LOST (Lionsgate/Roadside) is now at 483, with mixed results:  its $2K average isn’t much, but it only slipped 13% for the weekend while increasing theatres by 20%, a more even expansion than the one for 12 Years.  THE BOOK THIEF (20th), at 29 theatres, had a decent $15K average.  BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (IFC) widened its run by 50% and climbed 10% for the weekend, with a $2500 average at 108 theatres that looks pretty good when the 3-hour running time and NC-17 rating are taken into account.  KILL YOUR DARLINGS (Sony Pictures Classics) more than doubled to 71 theatres and went up 55%, although its $1800 average is anemic.

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."