November 11, 2012



OPENINGS: The weekend belonged to Bond.  James Bond.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) had by far the biggest start for any Bond movie in the US, with an estimated $87.8M.  That’s more than $20M ahead of the previous record-holder, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall will have far better legs than Solace, as shown by its up day on Saturday, while Solace fell from its opening day.  All this, of course, is on top of the $428.6M Skyfall has already earned outside the US, putting it on track for $800M+ worldwide, which would be a massive $200M+ above the global takes for Solace and Casino Royale–not bad for a franchise entering its 6th decade.  It’s also, by a ridiculous margin, the highest-grossing film of Oscar-winner Sam Mendes’ directing career.

LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) opened on a far smaller scale, dipping its toe into 11 theatres to establish reviews and word of mouth for next week’s wide release.  The film accomplished its goals, with a 91% mark on Rotten Tomatoes, and a very strong (although far from record-level) $81.8K per-theatre average.  We’ll know next week if there’s really an audience for Steven Spielberg’s excellent but very low-key historical drama.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the overpowering presence of Skyfall st the top of the chart, the movies already in theatres generally held very well.  WRECK-IT RALPH (Disney) fell only 33% to $33M, much better than the 49% Weekend 2 drop for Pixar’s Brave last summer, and potentially giving (non-Pixar) Disney Animation its first franchise.  FLIGHT (Paramount), which faced more direct competition from Bond, fell only 39% from its opening, and of course ARGO (Warners) continued to run like an Olympic medalist, down just 34% in its 5th weekend.  Other robust holdovers:  TAKEN 2 (20th) down 32%, HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony)  down 28%, PITCH PERFECT (Universal) down 18%, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate) down a miniscule 15% in its 8th weekend, never having gone into genuinely wide release.  THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (Universal), however, collapsed by 69% in ts 2d weekend (and that’s despite Universal’s puzzling estimate that it’ll have the lowest Sunday drop in the Top 10, even though it showed no special strength last Sunday).  CLOUD ATLAS (Warners), down 53% in its third weekend, won’t make it to $30M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE SESSIONS (Fox Searchlight) doubled its theatre count but only increased its boxoffice by 16% for the weekend, with a wan $4300 per-theatre average.  A LATE QUARTET (EOne) only managed a $2800 average as it expanded to 62 concert halls.  SMASHED (Sony Classics) doubled its theatres to 42, and sadly couldn’t even get to a $1000 per-theatre average.  A ROYAL AFFAIR (Magnolia) had an ok $5700 average start in 7, but STARLET (Music Box), despite rave reviews from newspapers that used to mean something, only averaged $2700 at 6.    

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."