March 9, 2014



OPENINGS:  Despite frontloading that led to an 8% Saturday drop, 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (Warners/Legendary) is claiming a very low 30% decline on Sunday in order to report a $45.1M weekend.  We’ll see if that number holds up tomorrow, but even if it reduces to $43-44M, it will have been a successful start for the $225M (with marketing) action spectacle, one that might bring it to the $125M neighborhood in the US.  Overseas, though, is all-important in this genre, and Empire opened in every major territory around the world (except China and Japan) simultaneously for $87.8M (some of that number dates back to Wednesday).  The claim is that this is 10% ahead of the original 300, which ended up with $245.5M overseas, but because of different distribution patterns, those kinds of comparisons are rarely apples-to-apples.  Even if Empire can come close to the first 300 internationally, though, it would be a win.

Family movies typically perform better on Sundays because of the matinee audience, so the predicted 30% drop for MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN (DreamWorks Animation/20th) makes more sense, giving it a claimed $32.5M weekend after a fine 81% Saturday bump.  That’s still just a moderate start, however, for a movie with $250M in production/marketing costs–especially since the movie has only one more clear weekend before Muppets Most Wanted arrives on March 21.  Also problematic is the film’s international performance.  It’s been in 16 markets for 1-2 weeks, and added 36 more this weekend to cover most of the world, with a mild $66.1M to date.  There are a few more major markets to come, including Australia, Italy, China and South Korea, but Peabody is looking soft at best.

HOLDOVERS:  Most of the returning films look relatively good in comparison to last weekend because of Oscar Sunday.  NON-STOP (Universal) leads the pack with a 47% drop to $15.4M and a likely $80M total ahead.  THE LEGO MOVIE (Warners) felt some pinch from the arrival of Mr. Peabody and also dropped 47%, to $11M.  It has $225M in the US and is aiming at $250M.  Lego also had $135.6M overseas after a $10M weekend (it’s now in most territories apart from China and Japan), a good but not great result compared to its huge US success.  SON OF GOD (20th) proved to be extremely frontloaded, down 60% from last weekend to $10M and a $41.5M total–it should get to $60M, which would still be a win considering its low production and marketing costs.

Despite the arrival of 300‘s sequel, both THE MONUMENTS MEN (Sony/20th) and 3 DAYS TO KILL (Relativity) are holding well with presumably older action fans, down 37% and 38% to $3.1M weekends.  Monuments, though, is way ahead with $70.6M in the US (plus $45.4M overseas, where release is still in progress), compared to $25.6M for 3 Days.

Post-Oscars, FROZEN (Disney) had the biggest weekend, down 17% to $3M, with $393.1M in the US and $616.4M overseas (with Japan, its last territory, opening on Friday).  The biggest Oscar boost, though, went predictably to Best Picture winner 12 YEARS A SLAVE (Fox Searchlight), which widened its run to 1065 theatres and more than doubled its previous weekend to $2.2M, giving it $53.1M in the US (and a far better $105.6M overseas).

LIMITED RELEASE:  The milestone mark of $200K per theatre (at 4 in NY and LA) that’s currently being claimed by THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) may not quite hold up in final numbers, but even if it slips a bit, it’s already swamped the previous highest-ever non-special event opening average, which had been $147K for The Master (at 5 theatres).  Budapest also brought in a robust $6.2M in only 9 overseas territories.

Nothing else was as dramatic.  THE FACE OF LOVE (IFC) had an $8K average at 3 theatres that was hyped by celebrity Q&As, and BETHLEHEM (Adopt) opened at 26 with an unexciting $2700 average.  THE LUNCHBOX (Sony Classics) widened nicely to 13 theatres with a $9700 average.




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."