November 22, 2012



UPDATE:  More refined Wednesday numbers are in via The Hollywood Reporter, and the major difference from the numbers below was for SILVER LININGS NOTEBOOK, which made $656K rather than $550K. still off the pace of last year’s The Descendants, which had a very similar release pattern.  Also, RED DAWN made $4.2M rather than $4.5M, which will shave a couple of million off its 5-day weekend, while on the other hand, BREAKING DAWN 2 made $12.8M, $300K more than the initial estimate, which could give it an even bigger $65M 5-day weekend.  LINCOLN, too, is at $4.2M rather than $3.9M, which could give it $33M by Sunday.  

There was no great enthusiasm on Wednesday for the holiday openings, according to preliminary numbers at Deadline.  Although it was in third place overall for the day, the arrivals were led by RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount), with $5M.  That compared to $6.5M for last year’s The Muppets on the day before Thanksgiving, and that picture ended up with a 5-day holiday weekend of $41.5M (and overall US boxoffice of $88.6M), so Guardians looks to be headed for around $33M by Sunday.  Not only is that considerably less than the only moderately successful Muppets, but of the two, Guardians was far more expensive, so it’s going to need a strong hold through December and some serious international overperformance.

Behind Guardians was LIFE OF PI (20th), with $3.7M on Wednesday, probably on its way to a $30M 5-day holiday.  Pi will hope to duplicate the 5x opening weekend multiple that Hugo ended up with after its Thanksgiving opening last year, since both are well-regarded fantasies from major directors, but Pi is in more than twice as many theatres as Hugo had to start, so there’s less likely upside.  Still, a $100M total would be considered at least a moral victory for Pi, although it wouldn’t go far in recouping the movie’s $120M production cost (plus probably the same amount again in marketing).  RED DAWN (FilmDistrict) actually had a better Wednesday than Pi, with $4.5M $4.2M, but is expected to be more front-loaded than the family-oriented Guardians and Pi, with a $25M $23M 5-day weekend.  That’s not great, but considering that Dawn sat in an ashcan for 3 years before being released, an ultimate $50M gross wouldn’t look so bad.

Also on Wednesday, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) expanded to 367 theatres, and had a tepid $550K so-so $656K day, for a $1500 $1800 per-theatre average.  (About the same average as A bit better than the average Guardians had in over 3600 theatres.)  That’s better than last year’s My Week With Marilyn ($1300 average at 123 theatres), but Marilyn was a flop, so that’s not a comparison the studio is looking for.  A $5M $6M 5-day weekend means Silver Linings is going to need quick help from the critics awards that will start arriving in early December if it’s going to get any traction at the boxoffice.

Despite all the new product in theatres, Wednesday was dominated by holdovers.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) led the way with $12.5M $12.8M, almost identical to above the $12.4M that Breaking Dawn 1 made on the same day last year.  That should translate neatly into a $62M $65M 5-day holiday, an easy weekend win for the franchise.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) was next with $7.3M, which should give it a holiday weekend around $45M for what is already the most successful James Bond film ever made, putting it over $220M in the US, which will very impressively move it ahead of last year’s Mission Impossible 4, as it heads to $250M+, not even counting its massive haul overseas.  LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) continues to show surprising boxoffice strength, with $3.9M $4.2M on Wednesday.  That should give it $30M $33M by Sunday for a remarkable $61M $64M total, as it looks to get over $100M before it’s done, despite its sober tone and 2 1/2 hour length.  That puts Daniel Day-Lewis firmly in the Best Actor driver’s seat, and with Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty pending, the film itself is in excellent position for Best Picture honors.


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."