February 23, 2013



Oscar weekend boxoffice is one of those chicken-and-egg situations where it’s not clear whether the major studios stay away because no one goes to the movies that weekend, or if no one goes to the movies because there’s nothing new to see.  However self-fulfilling the prophecy may be, things are quiet at the multiplex this weekend, with only two weak openings.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate) was slightly ahead of DARK SKIES (Dimension/Weinstein) on Friday, $3.7M to $3.2M, although that margin will probably lengthen over the course of the weekend, since low-budget horror tends to be more front-loaded.  Snitch should end up with a $10M weekend, not quite the worst opening of The Rock’s career (that was 2010’s Faster, with $8.5M–although that one opened on a Wednesday), and Dark Skies with perhaps $8.5M.

Both the newcomers are behind IDENTITY THIEF (Universal), which had a $4M Friday and should win the weekend with $12M.  (Note:  all holdovers will have worse weekend-to-weekend comparisons than usual, because of the combination of last Sunday’s holiday weekend and this week’s Oscars).  SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) reportedly pulled ahead of A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th) on their 2d Fridays, $3.5M to $2.8M, and while both may end up with totals of $70-75M, that’s a lot better news for the moderately-budgeted soap than for Bruce Willis’ mindless action orgy.  ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (Weinstein), still the only family movie of 2013, held nicely with a $2.3M Friday, and could reach $50M. BEAUTIFUL CREATRES (Warners) continued to be the victim of its own bad spell with a dismal $1.1M on its 2d Friday.

As it has for the past few weeks, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) led the Oscar hopefuls with $1.6M on Friday, with room for upside if it has any surprise wins on Sunday.

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."