March 10, 2013



OPENINGS:  OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Disney) is having an oddly topsy-turvy weekend.  On the one hand, in the US it got the Saturday bump it needed from family audiences, rising 37% (better than Alice in Wonderland, although nowhere near The Lorax), allowing it to claim a $80.3M weekend.  Even if that number comes down by $1-2M tomorrow (always beware round-number estimates), it’s still a very solid number.  Overseas, though, may be a different story.  Oz opened in 80% of the world this weekend to $69.9M, which sounds like plenty, but in the current movie economy, studios expect big action movies and 3D spectacles to overperform internationally by a large margin.  For example, both A Good Day To Die Hard and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, neither one a hit, will likely end up with overseas boxoffice nearly triple what they made in the US, and The Hobbit made 70% of its total overseas.  The Oz number doesn’t include China, which should be a lucrative market (although The Hollywood Reporter notes that so far, Oz is “generally soft in Asia”), but as of now, it doesn’t seem likely to make much more overseas than domestically.  And a worldwide gross of $500M or even $600M is just an OK return on a movie that cost (with marketing) $350M or more.

The only other wide opening was DEAD MAN DOWN (FilmDistrict), which with its $5.4M start doesn’t bear much discussion.

HOLDOVERS:  Oz, predictably enough, destroyed JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (Warners), which collapsed 63% from last weekend and now seems headed for no more than $65M in the US.  Its budget wasn’t much less than Oz‘s, so that’s a flat-out disaster for Warners no matter how it does overseas.  There’s a reason you’re starting to hear insistent manufactured “buzz” that the upcoming Man of Steel is better than anyone dared to hope.

Most of the other movies in the market held up well, with IDENTITY THIEF (Universal) down just 35% to $6.3M, and SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate), 21 AND OVER (Relativity), SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) all falling 35-42%.  Safe Haven now seems a sure bet to beat Good Day to Die Hard in the US, something no one would have expected when both opened on Valentine’s Day.  In semi-wide release at 715 theatres, QUARTET (Weinstein) continued to find its audience, down just 28% from last week.

LIMITED RELEASE:  EMPEROR (Roadside Attractions) didn’t make much of an impression with a $4K average at 260 theatres.  THE GATEKEEPERS (Sony Pictures Classics) increased its theatres by almost 50% (to 67), but just held even for the weekend with a $3700 average.  NO ( Sony Pictures Classics) expanded fairly well to 35 theatres with a $4800 average.  STOKER (Fox Searchlight), though, more than doubled its run to 17 theatres and fell 28% anyway, with a $6800 average and little potential for wide release.  BEYOND THE HILLS (IFC) had an OK start with a $6K average at 3 theatres.  The notable per-theatre number of the weekend was $38.5K for the tiny indie SOMEONE UP THERE LIKES ME (Tribeca), but it comes with a big asterisk, because star Nick Offerman held Q&As at that Chicago theatre during the weekend.  Michel Gondry’s THE WE AND THE I (Paladin) had a $12.3K start at 1 NY theatre.

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."