January 6, 2013



OPENINGS:  TEXAS CHAINSAW (Lionsgate) did what most horror movies do, dropping 23% on Saturday for a lousy 2.3x weekend multiple of its Friday gross.  It was actually in 2d place on both Saturday and Sunday, but that frontloaded Friday was enough to give it a comfortable $23M win for the weekend.  With a $20M (not counting marketing) budget, it’s likely to end up on the borderline of justifying yet another sequel/reboot.

There won’t be any sequel to PROMISED LAND (Focus/Universal), which had an unpromising $2600 average in its wide expansion to 1676 theatres and a $4.3M weekend total.  Barring a surprise Oscar run when the nominations are announced on Thursday, it’s destined to vanish quickly.

HOLDOVERS:  DJANGO UNCHAINED (Weinstein/Sony) was down just 33% from last week’s holiday weekend, and with a $20.1M weekend and a total of $106.4M, it’s now certain to pass Inglourious Basterds as Quentin Tarantino’s biggest hit.  The question now is whether the Academy will look kindly on its incendiary mix of race and violence, and extend its run through February.  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) fell 45% for a $17.5M weekend and $263.8M total (plus $560M+ overseas).  Hobbit will beat Fellowship of the Ring’s $871.5M worldwide total, and (with a China opening still ahead) has a good chance of surpassing The Two Towers’ $926M; however it probably won’t get to Return of the King‘s $1.12B.  LES MISERABLES (Universal) slipped 41% for a $16.1M weekend and $103.6M total.  It won’t set any records in the US, but is off to a strong start in what’s so far a limited overseas release.

The midrange holiday titles held very well:  PARENTAL GUIDANCE (20th), JACK REACHER (Paramount), THIS IS 40 (Universal), THE GUILT TRIP (Paramount) and LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) were all down 28-32% from last weekend. None of the first 4 will get to $100M, however, while Lincoln is nosing at $150M+, especially since it’s expected to have a terrific morning on Thursday when the Oscar nominations are announced.  SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) held even better, down a tiny 12% as it, too, waits for Thursday to finally expand wide.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) is going to add to its laurels by going over $300M in the US, while LIFE OF PI (20th) will need some Academy help to reach $100M. (However, Pi has been far more successful overseas, where it’s already made $300M and is still #1.)

LIMITED RELEASE:  Nothing new entered the market, but there were plenty of expansions.  ZERO DARK THIRTY (Sony), which will go wide next weekend, took a first step by broadening to 60 theatres, with a fantastic $46K average.  (A few comparisons:  Moonrise Kingdom had a $16K average when it went to 96 theatres, Midnight in Paris averaged $33K in 56, and The King’s Speech had a $26K average in 43.)  THE IMPOSSIBLE (Summit/Lionsgate) went to 572 theatres with a fairly strong $4800 per-theatre average.  HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (Focus/Universal) expanded to 222 theatres with an OK $4700 average. RUST AND BONE (Sony Pictures Classics) managed a $4600 average at 39.  But NOT FADE AWAY (Paramount Vantage) positively dropped dead with a pathetic $496 average in 565, practically an Oogieloves number.

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."