June 9, 2013



OPENINGS:  Not to throw any cold water on the extremely impressive performance of THE PURGE (Universal), but it’s unlikely that the thriller will slip only 12% on Sunday, as Universal is forecasting, when the next-lowest Sunday estimate in the Top 10 is almost double that.  (The idea seems to be that after a 38% plunge on Saturday–fairly heavy even by horror genre standards–it can’t fall much more, but that’s rarely true.)  However, even if the weekend number ends up at $34-35M rather than the current $36.4M estimate, it’s still a huge result that puts the low-cost movie into profit, and makes a sequel or follow-up of some kind not unlikely.

Don’t look for any movie puff-pieces set at YouTube or PayPal after the flop of THE INTERNSHIP (20th), which with little hope of overseas rescue is going to be pretty much a dead loss with a $18.1M weekend.  The only (sort-of) bright side:  at least  it’s better than the $12.8M opening for Vince Vaughn’s last flop The Watch.

HOLDOVERS:  NOW YOU SEE ME (Summit/Lionsgate), clearly benefiting from great word of mouth, fell only 34% in its second weekend, an exceptionally good hold.  It has a shot of getting all the way to $100M in the US.  No such luck for AFTER EARTH (Sony).  Not only did it collapse with a 59% drop in the US, but it made only $45.5M internationally, playing throughout most of the world.  As a point of comparison, After Earth is in 60 overseas territories, while the underperforming Oblivion opened in 52 territories with $61M.  After Earth seems unlikely to top $225M worldwide, putting it squarely into red ink.  Will Smith’s next career decision will be the most important one he’s made in a long time.

With the exception of THE HANGOVER PART III (Warners), down 55% from last week, most holdovers hung in there pretty well, including FAST & FURIOUS 6 (Universal) down 44%, EPIC (20th) down 27%, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (Paramount) down 30%, THE GREAT GATSBY (Warners) down 35%, and IRON MAN 3 (Disney) down 32%.  Star Trek, notably, has made $176M overseas, already almost $50M ahead of 2009’s Star Trek (although Darkness is running a bit behind in the US, despite 3D ticket prices).  Epic, though, is looking slow internationally with $105M to date.  Gatsby is only running about 50/50 between US and overseas boxoffice, and that’s only likely to get the film to breakeven (not that breakeven isn’t admirable enough for such an odd, expensive project).

The champion holdover in terms of percentages, however, continues to be MUD (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate), which dropped less than 1% for the weekend, and now seems likely to move past The Place Beyond The Pines and its $21.2M as art-house opening of the year thus far.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Joss Whedon’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Lionsgate) cooled down quite a bit once the opening night celebrity Q&As were over, although a weekend per-theatre average of $37K at 5 theatres is still very fine.  Several other releases also widened this weekend.  FRANCES HA (IFC) almost doubled its run to 233 theatres with an OK $2500 per-theatre average, BEFORE MIDNIGHT (Sony Pictures Classics) went to 50 theatres with a strong $12K average, THE EAST (Fox Searchlight) had a decent $6K average at 41, and THE KINGS OF SUMMER (CBS) was a notch below with a $5K average at 44.  LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED (Sony Pictures Classics) widened to 101 theaters with a blah $2K average, and WHAT MAISIE KNEW (Millenium) had only a $1300 average at 122, while STORIES WE TELL (Roadside Attractinos) had a $2K average at 70.  FILL THE VOID (Sony Pictures Classics) doubled to 13 theatres with a $6K 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."