November 18, 2012



OPENINGS:  Thanks to a slightly higher Saturday than its predecessor (down 42% from Friday instead of 44%), THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) is headed for the 2nd highest opening of the franchise, its $141.3M behind only New Moon‘s $142.8M.  However, the series boxoffice numbers are so tightly bunched together that we won’t know the final standings until tomorrow.  If the new installment performs like Breaking Dawn 1 (which also opened the Friday before Thanksgiving), it should end up with $285-290M, above Breaking Dawn  1 and Eclipse, but below the original Twilight and New Moon.  Breaking Dawn 2 opened almost everywhere worldwide as well as in the US this weekend, and overseas it added a huge $200M to its coffers, for what should be a total haul of $700M+ before it’s (truly) done.

In its much smaller way, LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) also had a very successful weekend, with $21M at only 1775 theatres.  That’s surprisingly robust for a very long and somewhat dry story of 19th century American politics, with the real possibility of outgrossing both of Steven Spielberg’s last 2 films, War Horse ($79.9M) and The Adventures of Tintin ($77.6M).  In addition, it puts Disney exactly where it wanted to be, poised for the awards season with plenty of room to expand as accolades start to roll in.

HOLDOVERS:  The 53% drop for SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) to $41.5M is a bit surprising, given what to all accounts has been the very strong audience response, and no real competition in its demo for the weekend.  Nevertheless, the movie is poised to become the most successful Bond in the US sometime next week, and internationally it’s a blockbuster with $508M, making it already the most successful movie worldwide in the 50-year old franchise’s history, with plenty of tickets left to sell.

WRECK-IT RALPH (Disney) was down 45% in its last weekend before Rise of the Guardians arrives as direct competition, and at a total of $121.5M, it doesn’t seem likely to get near the $200M of Tangled, currently the high-water mark for (non-Pixar) Walt Disney Animation.  FLIGHT (Paramount) increased its theatre count by 25% and still fell 42% for the weekend, heading for $75-80M.  ARGO (Warners), on the other hand, lost over 500 theatres and dropped only 39% as its climb toward $100M continues.  There was a general house-cleaning at the multiplexes this weekend, resulting in drops for TAKEN 2 (20th), PITCH PERFECT (Universal) and HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony) of 48-52%, higher than they’d been falling thus far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) started with a $28.6K average at 16 theatres.  That’s about the same as the $27.3K average that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had at 16, but not in the same league as recent high-visibility platform averages of $86K at 11 theatres for Lincoln or $55K at 16 for Moonrise Kingdom, let alone the massive $147K at 5 for The Master.  The studio has scaled back the original distribution plan, but Linings will still be in over 400 theatres on Wednesday, and the results are very uncertain (Marigold, which climbed ultimately to $43M, had a $9100 average when it reached 354 theatres), particularly if the early critics awards that start in December favor the movie’s performances (not as valuable at the boxoffice) over Best Picture nods.  The current Weinstein Company strategy is reportedly to keep the film in under 1000 theatres until the Oscar nominations are announced in January.  ANNA KARENINA (Focus/Universal), with a considerably more mixed set of reviews, is even less of a popular hit, with an average of $19.7K at 16.  That’s certainly better than the parallel number for THE SESSIONS (Fox Searchlight), which had a $10.9K average at 20 theatres and is now languishing with a terrible $1700 average at 516–but it’s as close to Sessions as it is to MarigoldA LATE QUARTET (EOne) increased its theatre count by more than 50% to 100, but fell 10% for the weekend.


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."