December 4, 2011

BIJOU BOXOFFICE: Weekend Studio Scorecard – 11/4/11


BREAKING DAWN PART 1:  Running $8M below New Moon at the parallel place in their runs, but with a slower rate of decline (at least until New Year’s Eve opens next week).  New Moon earned another $41M after the post-Thanksgiving weekend to end up at $296M in the US; Breaking Dawn 1 could make another $45-50M, which would put it in the same place.

THE MUPPETS:  A disastrously bad second weekend, its 62% the worst decline of the Top 12.  It’ll have one more weekend to control the family-film market before Alvin & the Chipmunks arrives, but unless international is strong (so far the film is in only 3 small markets outside the US), this isn’t looking like sequel fodder.
HUGO:  So far the unorthodox strategy of starting with a mid-level number of theatres and gradually adding more as awards pour in–is working OK, with a relatively small 33% decline and a per-theatre number almost equal to Breaking Dawn 1‘s.  The question is how far it can be pushed as holiday movies continue to arrive, both for families and adults.  (And the bigger question is how the film’s enormous production cost can ever be earned back, but that’s the studio’s problem.)
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS:  Word of mouth is clearly good, with a 39% fall from last weekend, but the movie just has nowhere to go–it’s already in 3376 theatres and has an anemic $2200 average.  Opening in the flood of family movies over Thanksgiving doomed this one (although holding it to do battle against Alvin wouldn’t have worked any better).
THE DESCENDANTS:  Playing the platform release game of increasing theatre count each week so the weekend total stays high while per-theatre shrinks.  Its $9K average in 574  is around the same average Black Swan had, but in a wider release of 959 theatres.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN:  The Weinstein Company, as is its wont, is apparently going after other awards hopefuls with guns blazing, but they have zero to boast about:  Marilyn, with no awards help so far, has a flat $4800 average at 244 theatres (that average isn’t much better than what Hugo is doing in more than 7x as many theatres, and it’s far below Descendants‘ average in more than twice as many).
SHAME:  A good but not great $36K average in 10 theatres.
THE ARTIST:  Increased its theatres by 50% by adding 2 in San Francisco, and could only hold even with last weekend, leaving it with a $34K average in 6 that was lower than the NC-17 Shame‘s average in 10.
OTHER HOLDOVERSJ. EDGAR fell 52% and seems unlikely to get beyond $40M unless DiCaprio starts winning some awards.  Sony greatly expanded the runs of MONEYBALL, THE IDES OF MARCH and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS to keep them alive in awards season, and saw per-theatre numbers of $600-900.  MARGIN CALL continues to show real tenacity at the boxoffice with a mere 23% drop–it should get to $5M in US theatres, and that’s on top of $2-3M in VOD revenues, very good numbers for a picture with a low budget and very little paid advertising.  LIKE CRAZY, THE SKIN I LIVE IN and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE all seem likely to stall out at abour $3-3.5M unless they get some awards help.

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."