June 23, 2013



OPENINGS:  Allowing for the usual studio practice of predicting lower-than-typical Sunday drops to boost the numbers a bit, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) opened in line with expectations at what may be slightly less than the $82M number announced today.  That puts it only behind 3 other big-ticket animated sequels (the last Toy Story and 2 Shreks) as the best animated opening ever, although it’s well behind those (the lowest of the trio opened with $108M).  It’s considerably up from the recent $66M openings for Brave and Cars 2, and that won’t discourage Pixar from staying in the sequel business.  Overseas, the movie opened in 35 territories (purportedly 48% of the world) with $54.5M.  That seems to put it in line for $600-650M worldwide.

WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) is claiming the lowest Sunday drop in the Top 10–even lower than Monsters–so that $66M weekend estimate may well be adjusted tomorrow.  Nevertheless, the picture opened above expectations, and had a very moderate 10% Saturday drop.  WWZ also made $46M overseas in 25 territories which Paramount says is 30% of the non-US world, and if those numbers hold up worldwide and the picture doesn’t collapse in Weekend 2, there should be a shard of light at the end of its profitability tunnel.

THE BLING RING (A24), which isn’t in the Top 10 (it’s in only 650 theatres) is estimating its Sunday even more aggressively than 20th or Disney, claiming a tiny 9% drop.  In any case, a $2M weekend and $3100 per-theatre average isn’t going to get Sofia Coppola’s movie very far.

HOLDOVERS:  MAN OF STEEL (Warners) had a lousy Weekend 2 in the US, falling 65% to $41M (and that’s giving Warners the benefit of the doubt on its estimate) and it also dropped 59% in the foreign territories where it opened last week (the release more than doubled to 52 territories, so its overall foreign weekend was at $89M, up from $71.6M in just 24 markets last week).  With a worldwide total of $400M so far, it seems to be heading for $600-700M worldwide, obviously a very big number, but not the $752.2M of Sony’s rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man.  That should still be enough for profit, even on a $400M (including marketing) investment, so a sequel is warranted, but it’ll be interesting to see if Zack Snyder is chosen to direct again, and if the gargantuan budget comes down next time.

THIS IS THE END (Sony) held very well, down just 37% from last weekend to $13M, and should get to $80M or so, almost doubling the return on the season’s other major-studio comedy The Internship.

BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) dropped only 33% even though it lost half its theatres from last week, but its sub-$1M weekend and $2100 per-theatre average means it will have a hard time, at best, even reaching $10M.

Among long-runners, NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate) had the best hold in the Top 5, down only 29% to $7.9M, with $100M clearly in its sights.  IRON MAN 3 (Disney) held even better farther down the list, down just 26% (despite losing almost half its theatres) and topping $400M in the US (over $1.2B worldwide).  STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) is now running $41M behind 2009’s Star Trek in the US and $85M ahead overseas–but that net gain is more than erased by the increased production and marketing costs this time, so Darkness may actually end up less profitable than its predecessor.  (And with JJ Abrams unavailable to direct the next installment, that’s another franchise with some decisions to make.)

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE EAST (Fox Searchlight) won’t lift Searchlight’s recent losing streak, expanding to 195 theatres with just a $1800 per-theatre average.  That’s still a better average than FRANCES HA (IFC), with a $1400 average at 135.  MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Lionsgate) spread to 206 theatres with a $3300 average. THE KINGS OF SUMMER (CBS) had a $1900 average at 65. FILL THE VOID (Sony Pictures Classics) widened to 46 theatres with a $3800 average.  UNFINISHED SONG (Weinstein) goosed its numbers with some in-theatre appearances by star Terence Stamp, and averaged $14K at 2 in NY and LA.  A HIJACKING (Magnolia) had a $5900 average at 6.  The very well-reviewed THE ATTACK (Cohen Media Group) had an $8800 average at 3.  In a year that’s had no break-out indie smashes so far, MUD (Roadside Attractions) continued to inch its way to the top of the chart, now at $20.1M, just behind the $21.4M for The Place Beyond the Pines.


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."