June 30, 2013



OPENINGS:  The $40M weekend estimate for THE HEAT (20th) makes more sense than it did last night, now that the movie’s Saturday is being reported as a 6% increase rather than a 5% drop.  (But always be suspicious of round-number estimates anyway.)  The Heat is going to be profitable, thanks to its $45M production budget, and very possibly sequel-worthy–making up for Fox’s failure with The Internship–although the studio’s big summer bet is still ahead with The Wolverine.

Barring miraculous overseas response, WHITE HOUSE DOWN (Sony) is going to lose $100M or more for its studio after a dismal $25.7M opening.  Coming on the hells of similar losses for After Earth, this is the kind of summer that can shake up executive regimes.  In retrospect, it was probably no coincidence that director Roland Emmerich was so quick to announce last week that his next movie would be Independence Day 2–with or without Will Smith.

HOLDOVERS:  MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (Disney/Pixar) delivered about all a studio could ask, following its big opening with a relatively slim 44% drop in its second weekend to $46.2M.  Although Pixar has announced that it plans to be less reliant on sequels than its been in the last few years (3 of its last 4 movies have been franchise entries), it’ll be awfully tempting to bring back Mike and Sully for another billion-dollar payday.  Meanwhile, Despicable Me 2 is right on its heels, with $50M already earned in just 7 overseas territories.

The fate of WORLD WAR Z (Paramount) is still unclear.  Its 55% drop in the US to $29.8M is nothing to crow about (it’s unlikely to reach $200M here), and so far its international results are running just slightly ahead of that.  With a $350M+ cost (including worldwide marketing), a $500M global total would no more than pay the bills.

MAN OF STEEL (Warners) is fading fast in the US, down another 50% to $20.8M, and also running just slightly ahead of its US total overseas.  With Brazil and Japan yet to open, the movie has hit $520M worldwide, and will certainly reach $600M, which could be called the “sigh of relief” number for a movie with $400M in production and marketing costs–but can it get to $700M, where there might be some profit?

NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate) and THIS IS THE END (Sony)  are still the summer’s moderate-budget stalwarts, down only 30% and 35% respectively.  See Me has hit $104.7M in the US and could get to $120M, while The End is at $74.7M and should get near $100M.

The semi-wide release of THE BLING RING (A24) cratered, down 58% in its second weekend at 630 theatres, a mere $1350 per-theatre average.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The lone high-profile opening of the weekend, Pedro Almodovar’s I’M SO EXCITED (Sony Pictures Classics) didn’t get his usual critical hosannas, and it had a good but not great $21K average at 5 NY/LA theatres.  Now that BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) has abandoned its hopes of a wide-release breakout success, it seems to have found its level, down only 26% for the weekend with a $2300 average at 290 art-houses.  Also sitting comfortably is Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Lionsgate), down just 20% for a $2700 average at 217.  THE EAST (Fox Searchlight) is holding its own, down 30% for a $1400 average at 185.  FRANCES HA (IFC) is down to 90 theatres, although it held well with just a 9% drop and an $1800 average.  MUD (Roadside Attractions) is closing in on the title of the year’s leading indie, but it may not get there, down 36% from last week to a $20.5M total, but with a $1200 average at 160 theatres.  FILL THE VOID (Sony Pictures Classics) is building nicely, up to 61 theatres with a $3K average.  THE ATTACK (Cohen Media) had an OK expansion with a $3900 average at 36.  On the old-line prestige side, UNFINISHED SONG (Weinstein) widened to 19 theatres with a $5K average.  Sarah Polley’s unusual documentary STORIES WE TELL (Roadside Attractions) is down to 23 theatres, but it quietly reached $1.4M in US boxoffice.


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."