May 12, 2013



Mothers Day made for a happy holiday at the multiplex.

OPENINGS:  The Marketing department did its job extremely well, and THE GREAT GATSBY (Warners) overperformed to the tune of $51.1M for the weekend.  However, the 9% Saturday drop suggests the film may not hold up so well in the long-term.  The first sign will be whether tomorrow’s final numbers have Sunday slipping lower than the currently estimated 20% drop.

The studio priority for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) was to improve its overseas performance compared to the 2009 franchise reboot, which made a relatively puny $128M outside the US.  The sequel is off to a good start, with $31.7M in just 7 territories, reportedly running as much as triple its predecessor’s pace.  The Enterprise docks in the US on Thursday (aka Wednesday night).

PEEPLES (Lionsgate) had little impact with a $4.9M opening.  However, it did have an impressive 45% Saturday bump, suggesting that the opening might have been stronger if the movie hadn’t been counterprogrammed against Gatsby on Friday.  Lionsgate is being very aggressive with its Sunday estimate, claiming a further 13% increase is in store.

MUD (Lionsgate) pushed itself to a semi-wide release of 854 theatres with a $2.3M weekend and a $2800 per-theatre average.  With $8.4M earned to date, it’s unclear whether the film will have the stamina to reach the $20M level of earlier spring indie The Place Beyond the Pines.

HOLDOVERS:  IRON MAN 3 (Disney) dropped 58% in its second weekend to $72.5M (again, helped in part by Mothers Day).  That’s steeper than the 50% drop for The Avengers in its second weekend, but just about even with the 59% decline for Iron Man 2.  (Both of those second weekends also included Mothers Day.)  Iron 3 is running about $74M ahead of Iron 2 ($285M to $211M), suggesting that Iron 3 could end up with about $425M in the US.  Of course, that’s on top of its gigantic foreign results, currently at $664M (worldwide total so far:  $949M).  There’s no longer any doubt that Iron 3 will make over $1B worldwide, and it seems likely to become the 5th biggest movie in history, ahead of Transformers 3 ($1.123B), but not quite at the last Harry Potter ($1.342B).

All other holdovers faded far behind, although thanks to Mothers Day their holds were quite strong for the most part, with just a 14% drop for THE CROODS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) in its 8th weekend, and even a mere 33% decline for PAIN & GAIN (Paramount). The downside is that this week’s high Sunday grosses are likely to make next weekend look particularly ugly by comparison.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Only Sarah Polley’s STORIES WE TELL (Roadside) dared to open opposite Gatsby, with a fair $15.5K average in 2 theatres.  THE ICEMAN (Millenium) expanded to 17 theatres with an unexciting $6400 average, KON-TIKI (Weinstein) had a dull $3800 average after expanding to 22 theatres, and AT ANY PRICE (Sony Pictures Classics) had only an $1100 average with a spread to 50 theatres.

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."