May 7, 2011

Box Office Footnotes – 5/6/11

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The weekend multiples this week are a little high for movies that skew to women like Something Borrowed, Jumping the Broom and Water for Elephants due to Mother’s Day, when many families treat mom to a flick.
The Thor number looks a little less impressive when you compare it to mid-level comic book movies of the recent past like Fantastic Four ($56M in 2005), its sequel ($58M in 2007) and The Incredible Hulk ($55M in 2008)–then remember Thor is the only one getting 3D premiums in its ticket prices.  We’ll see how word of mouth treats it.  However, next week its only new direct competition is Priest, which doesn’t look like much of a challenge.
Although Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom are both “women’s” movies that are opening to almost identical numbers, their paths getting there are very different.  Broom is Tri-Star’s second consecutive successsful appeal to the faith-based audience (after Soul Surfer), while Borrowed follows the standard Warners marketing plan of big-ticket network TV buys.  When the dust has settled, if the two filims stay on track with each other, Broom should be the far more profitable picture.  
Hats off to FilmDistrict, which will see Insidious hit $50M this weekend, on an investment and marketing plan that’s practically pocket change for Hollywood.  (The much higher budgeted Scre4m, in comparison, will struggle to hit $40M.)
Mitch Metcalf already mentioned it above, but it’s worth noting again that this weekend probably marks the end of Mel Gibson’s mainstream career as a movie star.  Despite decent reviews (especially for his performance) and a careful opening in 22 locations, audiences just had zero interest in The Beaver.  It’s hard to feel too bad about it, considering what we now know about him.  Bad luck guy of the decade:  writer Kyle Killen, who in the space of 1 year has had his TV series “Lone Star” get cancelled after 3 episodes and now his film debut go down the tubes; he’s got a new pilot in contention for next season, so maybe his luck is turning around (but the project is at NBC, so maybe not).

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."