May 21, 2011

Box Office Footnotes

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Written by: Mitch Salem


It’s hard to spin the Pirates 4 US opening as anything but a disappointment–when you figure in 3D ticket prices, actual attendance is probably down 30% from the last installment. (Look for Disney to make sure the full weekend number stays over $90M–or if that’s just too implausible, at all costs exceeds the $86M Fast Five did a few weeks ago.) The movie will still make a comfortable profit overseas, but it’s not the bonanza it used to be. The one thing they have going for them is that with the holiday weekend next week, neither Kung Fu Panda 2 nor Hangover 2 is aimed squarely at their demographic.

Bridesmaids’ hold is awesome. People forget that when these R-rated comedies hit (Wedding Crashers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Hangover), they can play forever. The only obstacle in its way: Hangover 2 on Thursday. Nevertheless, no doubt the word “sequel” has been uttered in Universal’s hallways this week.
Thor is headed for a $450-500M worldwide gross, which sounds like a lot until you realize that only $250-275M of it goes back to the studio, and the picture cost around $300M to produce and market. TV and homevideo should still bring it to profit, and it serves to prime the pump for The Avengers; its viability as a standalone franchise is less clear.
It’s easy to get giddy over the per-theatre number for Midnight In Paris. Remember, though, that 4 of its 6 current theatres are in NYC, the center of the Woodyverse. Nevertheless, it seems likely to be the biggest hit in years for the 75-year old director (who’s already in production on his next picture).

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."