July 24, 2011

Box Office Results Footnotes – 7/24/11


With the superpowers wielded only by Hollywood studio estimators, CAPTAIN AMERICA:  THE FIRST AVENGER has leaped ahead of Thor to claim the biggest superhero opening of the year.  But Captain America and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (PART 2) are the only pictures in the Top 10 predicting a Sunday drop of less than 20%, so we’ll see tomorrow if those numbers hold up.  (By way of comparison, Thor fell 28% on its first Sunday.) 

TRANSFORMERS:  DARK OF THE MOON has hit $882M worldwide, which makes it the most globally successful of the series (even though domestically it won’t come close to the Transformers 2 gross–despite 3D ticket prices).  The film just opened in China, where authorities still ration out US films, and had a giant $40M weekend, and it doesn’t open in Japan until next weekend, so it should join the global $1 Billion club.  (Harry Potter will be permitted its China opening in early August.)
FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS will be the only R-rated summer comedy so far this season not to reach $100M, although for a moderately budgeted film it will still do well enough.  Reports are that it’s been skewing female and slightly older than expected (the audience is mostly 25+), which would suggest a leggy run… if Crazy Stupid Love weren’t opening on Friday.
On the indie front, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS continues to astonish:  after a 10 week run, and losing 12% of its theatres, it went up this weekend.  The runner-up indies of the season, TREE OF LIFE and BEGINNERS, continued to be rock solid, with Tree down only 10% from last week and Beginners basically dead-even (although Tree‘s $11M gross is still just a slice of its $30M cost, while Beginners $4.6M is already over its $3.2M production budget).  On an even smaller scale, the miniscule, marvelous THE TRIP (basically 2 funny English guys driving through the countryside and haranguing each other) has grossed $1.2M, a very good number for such a tiny picture, while the documentary BUCK has already reached $2.6M (both these movies are from IFC).  The Weinstein Company’s SARAH’S KEY had a good opening of $23K per theatre at 5, while Fox Searchlight’s less mainstream ANOTHER EARTH was right behind with $20K at 4.
Somewhat surprisingly, the first trade reviews for COWBOYS & ALIENS are very solid, so its reportedly weak tracking may improve through the week.  The terrific CRAZY STUPID LOVE should also benefit from good reviews (its early Rotten Tomatoes number is 83%).
Be sure to look for Mitch Metcalf’s Actual Boxoffice and International analysis as soon as numbers are available. 

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."