December 23, 2012



A fairly sturdy set of Saturday numbers firmed up the weekend a bit, but the start of the holiday movie season is still just mediocre.

OPENINGS:  JACK REACHER (Paramount) had a 13% Saturday bump and is predicting an 18% drop on Sunday, for a $15.6M weekend.  That tracks for a holiday period of about $50M, and perhaps $70M all told, hardly anything to get excited about.  And that was the good news this weekend.  THIS IS 40 (Universal) was up 19% on Saturday and expects to fall 11% on Sunday, for a $12M weekend, putting it in line for $40M by January 1 and around $60M in all.  Both these pictures are looking like break-even propositions, with This Is 40 additionally hampered by its likely lack of international appeal.  THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) wishes it had these problems.  Despite a robust 38% rise on Saturday and 11% drop on Sunday, it’s only at $5.4M for the weekend, and probably won’t make much more than $18M over the holidays, and $30M before it peters out.  MONSTERS INC 3D (Disney/Pixar), with a similar $5M weekend, will do better during the holiday period, but not enough to make it a notable hit.   CIRQUE DU SOLEIL:   WORLDS AWAY (Paramount) was the only film in the Top 13 to drop on Saturday, and although its $2.1M weekend is misleading because it’s going to widen on Tuesday after playing only 2 shows per day, that drop indicates very limited interest in the performance doc.

HOLDOVERS:  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) dropped 57% in its 2d weekend to $36.7M, plus an additional $91M overseas (a $284M international total), where it’s now playing almost everywhere but China.  Comparisons to the Lord of the Rings films are tricky because of disparate release patterns, but at $150M after 10 days in the US, Hobbit is underforming all of the Rings titles except the first (which was much less frontloaded).  RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) and LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) both fell under 20% from last week, and Guardians has also made $143M overseas, making it more of a disappointment than an outright failure.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM), with $280M in the US and $974M worldwide, will set yet another milestone by becoming the first Bond picture to reach $1B, a sure thing once it opens in China next January.  And thinking of China, LIFE OF PI (20th) is at $76M in the US yet has already made over $90M in that country alone, which could well be the difference between financial failure and recoupment on the expensive film.

LIMITED RELEASE:  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) took the honors for the weekend by a wide margin, with a very strong $82K per-theatre average at 5.  That’s not record-breaking (Lincoln did better at more than double the theatres, and THE MASTER and MOONRISE KINGDOM were even higher than that), but it’s an excellent start.  AMOUR (Sony Pictures Classics), while far behind, is doing quite well with a $23.6K average at 3.   The results were less promising for THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate) with a $9,3K average at 15, ON THE ROAD (IFC) with a $10K average at 4, and NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) with a $6.3K average at 3.  HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus/Universal) expanded by 50 theatres to 86 with an OK $4600 average, and RUST AND BONE (Sony Pictures Classics) expanded by 21 to 27 with a $4800 average.  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) had a $4900 average in (still) 371 threatres, ANNA KARENINA (Focus/Universal) averaged $2K at 331, and the average for HITCHCOCK (Fox Searchlight) was a dwindling $1100 at 535.

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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."