November 23, 2012



According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, something unexpected happened on Thanksgiving Day:  two of the holiday weekend’s openings changed places in the boxoffice ranks.

LIFE OF PI (20th), which had been considerably behind on Wednesday, reportedly took a 24% leap on Thursday to $4.5M.  This is similar to the track for last year’s Hugo, which jumped 40% on Thanksgiving Day, and perhaps not so surprising, given that Pi and Hugo are cinematically kindred spirits of a sort.  If the parallel continues, Hugo made about 25% of its 5-day holiday total on Wed/Thurs, which could mean a $32M weekend for Pi.  That’s still a small step for a picture as expensive as Pi (Hugo never made back its cost), but at least it’s a step.

Conversely, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) slipped 24% from Wednesday to Thursday, falling to $3.7M.  That’s about the same percentage as Arthur Christmas‘s fall last Thanksgiving.  Arthur, like Hugo, quadrupled its Wed/Thurs gross over the 5-day weekend, which means Rise could end up around $34M for the entire holiday period, considerably below the $41.5M opening for The Muppets (the holiday’s major family movie) last year.

The third wide opening of the holiday, RED DAWN (FilmDistrict), fell 20% on Thursday, and since it’s not aimed at families, it’s unlikely to recover as much over the rest of the holiday.  It could hit $24M by Sunday.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein) reportedly fell slightly on Thursday to $625K at 367 theatres (although the preliminary numbers for Wednesday were understated, so these figures could change).  That’s a Thursday per-theatre average of $1700, and even if it increases on Friday by 150% (pretty much the upper limit of day-after-Thanksgiving hikes), that would give it a $4250 average, far below the $6900 average that The Descendants had last year in 390 theatres on its day after the turkey.

As they did on Wednesday, holdovers controlled the top tier of the chart.  THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) fell 39% for the day, just about the same as the 38% drop for Breaking Dawn 1 last year, putting it on track for $64M over 5 days, which would give it $227M after 10 days in theatres.  SKYFALL (Sony/MGM) was virtually even Wednesday to Thursday at $7.5M, which could give it $55M over 5 days and a 17-day total of $225M, with no traditional action movies to offer any competition until Jack Reacher arrives on December 19.  And perhaps the most surprising–and dare we say, inspiring?–result belongs to LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th), which rose 13% on Thursday, heading for $35M over 5 days and a total (still in only 2018 theatres) of $60M, with a very good chance to go over $100M before it’s done.

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."