July 21, 2013



OPENINGS:  THE CONJURING (Warners) behaved like a horror movie on Saturday, falling 18% despite the great reviews and exit polls, but that didn’t stand in the way of its estimated huge $41.5M weekend.  That made it the biggest non-sequel R-rated horror movie ever, and bigger than all the thrillers Warners released under its now-defunct Dark Castle label.  It’s already doubled its $20M production cost, although the usual hefty Warners marketing tab will still have to be earned back.

That was it for good news.  TURBO (DreamWorks Animation/20th) opened weakly with $21.5M ($31.2M since its Wednesday opening), not even close to the third weekend of Despicable Me 2.  That’s the lowest DreamWorks opening since Flushed Away in 2006.  The studio is pushing the idea that Turbo will have a lengthy run, but with The Smurfs 2 and Planes already on the horizon, that’s very unlikely–instead, it’ll have to pray for overseas success.  (Early international results are only mildly promising, with $22.6M from 28 territories this weekend, supposedly representing about 25% of the non-US world.)  RED 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) managed only $18.5M, significantly below the $21.8M earned by the first RED in fall 2010, and likely to fall faster.  It’s just starting overseas, with $7.6M from 11 markets, but a $200M production/marketing cost will be hard to recoup.

And then there’s R.I.P.D., which is just a flat-out disaster with $12.8M over the weekend.  Universal, seeing the train wreck coming, threw some of its last-minute ad time into early spots for 2 Guns and Kick-Ass 2, but it still has over $250M invested in the thing, and barring an overseas miracle, that’s not coming back.

HOLDOVERS:  DESPICABLE ME 2 (Universal) is still hauling it in, with a $25.1M third weekend here and $35.4M overseas (some territories are still to open), for a worldwide total of $584.6M.

Neither of last weekend’s openings held up well.  GROWN UPS 2 (Sony) fell 52% for an estimated $20M weekend, and with less than $80M earned so far, it’s unlikely to get beyond much beyond $120M, although the sequel is playing more as a family film (the Saturday bump was much larger than for the first movie), so it may linger in theatres for a while.  PACIFIC RIM (Warners/Legendary) was worse in every respect.  It plunged 57% from last weekend to $16M, and with its huge cost, desperately needs a big overseas response to stay alive.  That doesn’t seem to be coming, as the sci-fi spectacle only managed $34.8M from most of the world.  Its worldwide total of $178.5M isn’t even half of what it would need to hit breakeven.

THE HEAT (20th) still has some, with a $9.3M 4th weekend and $129.3M so far.  The rest of the longer-running titles, though, are falling back, with WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) and MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) both at about $5M for the US weekend ($456.4M and $532.9M worldwide totals, respectively), and THE LONE RANGER (Disney) already done with $4.3M ($147.6M worldwide).

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE WAY, WAY BACK (Fox Searchlight) continued with its decent, unspectacular expansion, now with a $7400 average in 304 theatres.  FRUITVALE STATION (Weinstein) hit 34 theatres with an excellent $21.8K average.  Kristen Wiig and Ryan Gosling both struck out, with a $2100 average in 353 theatres for THE GIRL MOST LIKELY (Roadside) and a $4K average in 78 for ONLY GOD FORGIVES (Radius/TWC)–the latter is also on VOD.  20 FEET FROM STARDOM (Radius/TWC) is still doing nicely, with a $3K average at 135 and $2.4M so far.  BLACKFISH (Magnolia) started well with a $15K average at 4.

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."