January 5, 2014



OPENINGS:  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES (Paramount), with its $18.2M weekend, made less at 2867 theatres than the first Paranormal made at 760, a little more than 4 years ago.  It was also well below the $29M weekend for the last Paranormal installment in 2012 (which had been the franchise low).  In other words, the attempt to rejuvenate the series with a Latino accent and new scheduling was a failure.  Nevertheless, with a $5M production budget and moderate marketing costs, Marked Ones will still be a success, especially with overseas results of $16.2M in only 24 international markets indicating strength (the previous Paranormals have made $85-103M overseas).

HOLDOVERS:  Coming back to be the nation’s #1 film in the 6th weekend of wide release is no easy feat, and FROZEN (Disney) is a champion, at $297.8M after a $20.7M weekend (down just 28% from last week).  That’s the #3 6th weekend of all time, behind only Avatar and Titanic.  In addition, it brought in $52.5M overseas for an international total of $342M.  It’s only behind The Lion King in the history of non-Pixar Walt Disney Animation, and could get over $800M worldwide by the time it’s done.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Warners/MGM) held moderately well, down 44% from last weekend to $16.3M in the US (total so far:  $229.6M), and with another $58M overseas (total: $527M).  In the US, it’s $34M behind last year’s An Unexpected Journey, and overseas it’s $36M behind, although the latter number has an asterisk, because Journey had already opened in Japan (which made up $19.2M of its total), and Smaug won’t open there until next month.  (Both films didn’t hit China until the February after their worldwide release.)  With a global total of $70M to make up, it appears that Smaug won’t quite make it to Journey’s $1B mark, but overperformance in the remaining 2 markets could change that–and in any case, worrying about whether a movie ends up at $950M or $1B is the definition of a high-class problem.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount/Red Granite) and AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony) were neck-and-neck, Wolf at $13.4M (down 27%) and Hustle at $13.2M (down 30%).  However, Hustle‘s additional week in theatres puts it at $88.7M vs Wolf‘s $63.3M.  Neither film is in wide release overseas yet, presumably waiting to see how much Oscar glory they can claim.  In the US, though, Hustle will definitely go over $100M, and Wolf has a good shot of doing so as well.  ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) was below both of them at $11.1M, and falling much more steeply with a 44% drop.  It’s already at $109.2M and a very solid hit.  (It’s also made $35M overseas)

SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) fell 33% to $9.1M, with $59.3M to date and still the chance of getting to $100M if it does well with Oscar nominations.  THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (20th) dropped 36% to $8.2M and a $45.7M US total.  That puts it nowhere in recouping its roughly $225M production and marketing costs, but the news is a bit better overseas, where the comedy earned $31.5M in 56 markets and a $68.9M total.  Ben Stiller’s opus still looks like a longshot to break even.

GRUDGE MATCH (Warners) is the class of the holiday season dregs, down just 23% to $5.4M, with a $24.9M total that will still send it quickly to VOD and homevideo.  47 RONIN (Universal) plunged 50% to $5M and a $32.6M total, and the overseas news wasn’t much better, with $20.5M for the weekend and a $51.3M total.  WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (20th) fell 48% to $3.8M and US total of $31.4M (plus $52.6M overseas).

In franchise news, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (Lionsgate), after a $7.4M weekend, is still tantalizingly close to moving past the first Hunger Games and Iron Man 3.  Its $407.5M US total needs $500K for the first milestone and $1.5M for the second.  Meanwhile A MADEA CHRISTMAS (Lionsgate) will be on the low end of Madea movies, although with $50.5M earned so far after a $3.2M weekend, it may manage to pass 2011’s Madea’s Big Happy Family ($53.3M).

PHILOMENA (Weinstein) held well in semi-wide release, down 12% to $1.6M at 607 theatres, but the same can’t be said of MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM (Weinstein), which fell 51% to $1.1M at 1010.

LIMITED RELEASE:  HER (Warners) very impressively climbed 11% this weekend without adding any theatres, giving it a $15K average at 47 as it prepares for wide release on Friday.  DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (Focus/Universal) is also attracting strong word of mouth, up 10% with a $2400 average at 128.  INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (CBS) was down 6% for a $7500 average at 156.  The other Oscar hopefuls were down 8-21%, with averages of $28K and $42K for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Weinstein) and LONE SURVIVOR (Universal), both just at a handful of NY/LA houses, and averages in the $2-3K range for 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight) and NEBRASKA (Paramount), both at several hundred theatres.

THE PAST (Sony Pictures Classics) added 2 theatres for a total of 5, and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (Sony Pictures Classics) added 1 for a total of 4, and both had $7500-8K averages.

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."