March 2, 2014



OPENINGS:  NON-STOP (Universal) had a very solid Saturday, rising 22% from Friday, and even though Oscar Sunday may push it below the $30M weekend it’s currently projecting, it should comfortably take the weekend.  This will be the highest non-Taken opening of Liam Neeson’s late-in-life action star career, and the movie should clean up overseas as well, with a relatively moderate cost.

SON OF GOD (20th) was front-loaded, actually dropping 2% on Saturday (and more than that if Thursday night tickets are excluded).  Its religious audience will probably give it a strong Sunday, but not enough to take the weekend lead from Non-Stop.  Still, the currently projected $26.5M start is remarkable for a re-edited TV show, which is largely what Son is.  The question now will be whether its frontloadedness extends to future weeks, or if the target audience will be done by the end of the day.

The R-rated cut of ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) had no traction, with a $1000 average at its 1317 theatres.

HOLDOVERS:  THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) had a giant 130% Saturday bump, and now looks to drop only 33% for the weekend to $21M, giving it $209M in the US and so far over $90M overseas.  FROZEN (Disney) had not only the Saturday matinee bump but last-minute Oscar viewers wanting to see it before the awards, and it zoomed 148% on Saturday, dropping a tiny 18% for the weekend to $3.6M.  The bigger Frozen news is that it’s added $611.5M overseas to its $388.7M US total, and become only the 2d animated film in history to hit the worldwide $1B mark.  (It’s $63M behind Toy Story 3 for the title of highest-grossing animated film ever, and clearly far from done.)

THE MONUMENTS MEN (Sony/20th) held quite well, down 37% to $5M and a $65.7M US total, with foreign release still in progress.  With Liam Neeson in the market, Kevin Costner’s attempt to grab a piece of that elder action hero crown plummeted, as 3 DAYS TO KILL (Relativity) fell 60% to $4.9M and only $20.7M in its US total.  ROBOCOP (Sony/MGM), while not much in the US after a 54% drop to $4.5M ($51.2M total) is a huge hit overseas, almost tripling its success with $136M internationally–including a tremendous $20.5M opening in China.  POMPEII (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict) is doing better overseas as well, with only $17.7M in the US (after a 58% drop to $4.3M) but $47.7M overseas–but even the international numbers are too low to make anything like recoupment of its $200M production and marketing costs likely.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT (Screen Gems/Sony), in its 3rd weekend, was only barely ahead of the 7th weekend of RIDE ALONG (Universal), after About fell 55% to $3.4M ($43.8M total) and Ride slipped just 34% to $3.1M ($127.2M total), suggesting that Ride‘s huge success may have been more for the vehicle itself (and Ice Cube as his co-star) than because Kevin Hart is suddenly a box office powerhouse.

All the Oscar movies had great weekends, led (apart from Frozen) in dollar terms by AMERICAN HUSTLE‘s (Sony) $1.9M, but dominated in terms of percentage increase by 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight), which zoomed 72% to $900K, pushing past the $50M mark in the US.  12 Years has also done extremely well overseas for such a serious (and American) story, with $89.9M earned so far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE WIND RISES (Disney), also an Oscar nominee although not considered a front-runner, expanded to 496 theatres with an OK $3200 average.  STALINGRAD (Sony), playing only in 308 Imax 3D theatres, managed just a $1600 average.  REPENTANCE (Lionsgate), at 152 theatres, found little interest with a $3500 average.  TIM’S VERMEER (Sony Classics) had a $2800 average after expansion to 53 theatres.  THE LUNCHBOX (Sony Classics) is claiming a good $17K average in its opening at 3 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."