July 7, 2013



OPENINGS:  DESPICABLE ME 2 (Universal) had an even better weekend overseas than it did in the US, with $88.8M (in 45 markets, with plenty more major ones to come) vs $82.5M.  (Of course, in the US it also had the benefit of a holiday week, giving it a huge $142.1M here so far.)  The first Despicable made $543M worldwide, and it’s possible that the sequel will do 50% better, a giant win for the studio that will spawn a multi-billion dollar business in sequels and spin-offs. This is why you won’t be seeing any let-up in the number of franchise movies in the conceivable future.

…And then there’s THE LONE RANGER (Disney), the downside of Hollywood’s tentpole mentality.  With a $29.4M weekend ($48.9M since Tuesday night), it would be virtually impossible for the movie to overperform enough overseas to match its gigantic cost–even if it quadrupled its likely $100M US total, it wouldn’t break even.  (It’s off to a decent start internationally, with $29.4M in about one-third of the world.)  Disney can only grit its teeth and wait for Pirates of the Caribbean 5 in 2015, as Lone Ranger joins After Earth and White House Down as potential 9-digit losers this summer.

Kevin Hart’s LET ME EXPLAIN (Lionsgate) was made (and marketed) with a limited budget for a specific audience, and it found its target.  With a $10.1M weekend ($17.5M since Tuesday night), it should make its way to $30M+ and a tidy profit.

HOLDOVERS:  It’s not often that a Pixar movie is the biggest loser in the box office Top 10, but Despicable Me 2 blew a hole into MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) to the tune of a 57% weekend decline (and DreamWorks’ Turbo is less than 2 weeks away), to $19.5M.   In about two-thirds of the world, Monsters added another $29.5M, for a worldwide total so far of $400M.  It seems likely to reach around $650M worldwide, not quite up to Despicable 2, but considerably ahead of Brave and Cars 2 among recent Pixars.

THE HEAT (20th) held beautifully, down only 36% to $25M for the weekend, $86.4M in total.  It won’t get to the zeitgeist heights of Bridesmaids, but with its moderate budget, it definitely justifies a sequel.

The giant action movies are praying for big overseas results.  So far, WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) is at $158.8M in the US ($18.2M this weekend) and $207.4M overseas ($45.2M in 54 markets this weekend).  There’s a limited amount left in the tank here, but several big foreign territories left to open.  The movie will reach $500M worldwide, but that may not be enough to get out of red ink–the question is whether it can find its way to $600M.  Things look much more dire for WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Sony), with just $50.5M in the US after a $13.5M weekend.  It’s going to need all the heavy lifting to come from international, where it hasn’t started its rollout yet.  MAN OF STEEL (Warners) is probably going to be profitable.  It has $271.2M in the US after a $11.4M weekend (it’ll try to creep its way to $300M), and $315.6M overseas after a $21.3M weekend, with Brazil and Japan left to open.  The question is whether a $700M worldwide total (which would be outside the all-time Top 50) justifies spending another $400M on a sequel with the same creative elements, or if some adjustment needs to be made.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE WAY, WAY BACK (Fox Searchlight) had a fine opening, with a $30.3K average at 19 theatres.  That’s not an exciting number (last year Moonrise Kingdom had a $54.8K average at 16), but it should be enough to start generating word of mouth, which is what the movie will need if it’s to expand effectively to wide release.

BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) continued shedding theatres–it’s down to 214, with a $2400 average–and with $6.6M, it’s outearned its predecessors Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and should keep playing moderately for a while.  20 FEET FROM STARDOM (Radius/Weinstein) expanded nicely to 89 theaters with a $5700 average.  UNFINISHED SONG (Weinstein) widened less impressively with a $3500 average at 70.  THE ATTACK (Cohen Media) is now at 50 theatres with a $3900 average. I’M SO EXCITED (Sony Pictures Classics) belied its title with a $9300 average at 16.  THE BLING RING (A24) fizzled fast, now at $5.1M after a $300K weekend, but at least it outgrossed Sofia Coppola’s last film Somewhere.


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."