March 3, 2013



OPENINGS:  Two studios stretched as far as they could in coming up with weekend estimates for their bombs, claiming the lowest Sunday drops in the Top 10 to reach numbers that may well fall when actual figures are released on Monday.  The sadder story was JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (Warners), as though it really makes any difference whether the $200M disaster ($300M+ with worldwide marketing) has a $27M or $28M start.  (That’s lower than the opening weekend for John Carter, though it’s currently edging out Battleship.)  Director Bryan Singer has already retreated back to the X-Men franchise, and will have to hope his work there is the equal of his earlier efforts.  21 AND OVER (Relativity) will also probably end up somewhere below its $9M weekend estimate, considering that it had an almost invisible $10K Saturday bump, but that picture is low-budget enough that it shouldn’t cause lasting damage to anyone.  THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 (CBS) is filler at an $8M opening, although it looks like Titanic next to PHANTOM (RCR), which only managed a $460K weekend at over 1100 theatres, an abysmal $410 average.

QUARTET (Weinstein) expanded to general release at 725 theatres with a decent $2400 per-theatre average and a total of $11.2M so far, with the chance to hit $20M.

HOLDOVERS:  IDENTITY THIEF (Universal) easily took 2nd place for the weekend with a 31% drop to $9.7M.  With weak openings at the top of the weekend, even SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate) fell only 42% to $7.7M.  Notably, despite the arrival of Jack, ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (Weinstein) held on to enough of the family audience to slip only 37% in its 3rd weekend to $6.7M, while SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) fell just 40% to $6.3M.  The news wasn’t all good, as A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th) dropped 56% to $4.5M, and DARK SKIES (Dimension/Weinstein) fell 57% to $3.6M.  (Die Hard and Safe Haven are now only $2.6M apart in the US, despite the Bruce Willis vehicle costing triple the latter’s budget.)

Part of the reason studios engage in their months of Oscar war is for the post-Oscar bounce that winners receive, and it was in force this weekend, as SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) climbed 3%, ARGO (Warners) was up 21%, and LIFE OF PI (20th) rose an amazing 43%.  All are or soon will be comfortably over $120M.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The one major arrival was STOKER (Fox Searchlight), which had a tidy $23K average at 7 theatres.  THE GATEKEEPERS (Sony Pictures Classics) more than doubled its run to 46 theatres with an pretty good $5500 average, and NO (Sony Pictures Classics) went from 6 to 11 theatres with a $10K 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."