December 30, 2012



OPENINGS:  DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) and LES MISERABLES (Universal) are both success stories, but Django has pulled away from Les Miz over the past couple of days, and should outpace the musical by the end of the week.  Django appears likely to beat Inglourious Basterds and its $120.5M to become Quentin Tarantino’s biggest hit ever, while Les Miz should be #3 (currently Mamma Mia at $144.1M) or #4 (Enchanted at $127.8M) on the list of all-time musicals.  International boxoffice, just beginning for both, will determine just how successful they end up being.  In another boxoffice realm, PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th) is doing very nicely–better than it deserves, thanks to an almost complete lack of new family entertainment in the multiplexes–and could reach $70M on a reported $25M budget.

HOLDOVERS:  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) is still on top, with $222.7M in the US to date (almost $700M worldwide) and $300M a realistic target.  JACK REACHER (Paramount) was one of the few recent openings to head downward this holiday weekend, and even with a reported $60M budget (which can only mean Tom Cruise has pushed his fee to the back-end), it will need strong international business to turn a profit, once marketing costs are figured in.  (Its start of $22.5M in 32 territories isn’t particularly strong.)  THIS IS 40 (Universal) reportedly has a lower budget of $35M, but also lower prospects overseas, so its likely $75M US total is looking like a breakeven when marketing is included in the mix.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) obviously has a very American subject, and its international appeal is unclear, but a load of likely Oscar nominations will help–and in any case, its probable $150M US gross on a $65M budget should make it profitable from domestic returns alone.  RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) should reach $100M (plus perhaps $200M overseas), still not impressive for a movie that cost $145M (without marketing) and has mostly seasonal appeal.  LIFE OF PI (20th) probably won’t get to $100M in the US absent some major Oscar help, but its overperformance internationally (it’s already at $220M and likely to reach $300M+) may well save it from red ink.  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) remains stubbornly unexciting at the boxoffice with a $5500 average at 745 theatres, although with only a $21M budget (not counting a disproportionately large marketing cost, because of its need to be in the market from November through February), it should do fine.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) reached a giant milestone by becoming the 14th movie in history to hit $1B worldwide–and it has yet to open in China!–an incredible $414M higher than the next most successful Bond.  In the US, it also moved ahead of THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate), $289.6M to $286.1M, for (The Hobbit pending) holiday season bragging rights.

LIMITED RELEASE:  PROMISED LAND (Focus/Universal) plans to expand to 1500 theatres on Friday, but its $7600 average in only 25 theatres doesn’t portend much wide success.   ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony) fell 23% from last weekend, one of the sharper downturns for a picture not losing theatres, but is still at a stellar $65K per-theatre average at 5.  THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate), on the other hand, had a nice 29% increase, but still only a $12.3K average in 15.   AMOUR (Sony Pictures Classics) slipped 12%, still at a strong $20K average in 3.  NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) is pretty much done with a $2900 average at 19.  The documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS (Sony Pictures Classics), despite rave reviews, is off to a very slow start with a $2800 average at 5.

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."