January 13, 2013



OPENINGS:  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) was well ahead of the crowd with $24M, a number slightly depressed (as was almost everything this weekend) by the Sunday combination of NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes.  The $18.8M for A HAUNTED HOUSE (Open Road) didn’t get close to the openings for the Scary Movie franchise (most of them in the $40Ms), but was still a very profitable start for a movie with a Sundance-level budget.  The same can’t be said for the expensive GANGSTER SQUAD (Warners) and its $16.7M, especially since it faces direct competition from Broken City and The Last Stand come Friday.

HOLDOVERS:  On the one hand, LES MISERABLES (Universal) tightened the weekend gap between itself and DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) to about $1M ($10.1M vs $11.1M).  However, Les Miz did it by virtue of a somewhat suspect Sunday estimate, reporting a 28% drop for the day when virtually every other studio expects 40+%.  Is it justified by a perceived low overlap between the Broadway musical audience and football fans?  We’ll find out tomorrow.  (Les Miserables also had a huge UK opening this weekend, and has so far made $115M overseas; Django will begin its international campaign next week.)  The real exceptions of the weekend were Oscar darlings LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein), which were up 17% and 38% respectively this weekend. (Things seem to be laying out perfectly for Silver Linings to finally have its national expansion next weekend.)  LIFE OF PI (20th) was also notable, dropping just 5% despite losing 20% of its theaters. It’s nearing $100M in the US, and already has $357M internationally.)  THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit) didn’t get much mileage from its Best Actress nomination, expanding by 30% to 808 theaters but still falling 8% for the weekend.    Meanwhile, sometime next week, SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) will hit $300M in the US (it’s already over $1B worldwide, with its China opening still to come).

Last weekend’s #1, TEXAS CHAINSAW (Lionsgate), plummeted to 9th place with a 76% thud.  But horror movies are expected to have little stamina (although this is still one of the top 20 plunges of all time).  More horrific, in a way, is the 68% drop for PROMISED LAND (Focus/Universal), a serious film with a name director (Gus Van Sant) and a strong cast.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET (Weinstein) is off to a solid start with a $24K average in 2 NY/LA theaters.  Laden with Oscar nominations, AMOUR (Sony Pictures Classics) expanded to 15 theatres with an $18K average.  However, RUST AND BONE (Sony Pictures Classics) didn’t get its anticipated Best Actress nomination for Marion Cotillard, and although it doubled its theater count to 79, its boxoffice increased only 21%, with a $2500 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."