April 16, 2011

FRIDAY APR 15 NUMBERS: A Promising Weekends Turns Ho-Hum

More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , ,


This was supposed to be the weekend that the 2011 slump started to turn around.  While $37.5 million and $19 million openings are usually nothing to sneeze at, the box office needed better performances to show increases from 2010.    
Based on Friday’s numbers, Rio is headed for about $37.5 million this weekend.  On first blush, this looks like a pretty good number.  But keep in mind this well-reviewed movie is playing in 3-D (with higher ticket prices), which helped push its ShowbuzzDaily Forecast to $46.5 million.  But Rio is looking like it will premiere in the same range as both Rango and Hop in North America.  There is a slight chance heavy tornadic activity in the South might have dampened movie attendance last night — we could see a higher than normal uptick Saturday and Sunday, but the effect should not be major.  Playing at 3,826 theaters, Rio should average about $9,800 per theater.  A very good number but not a smash.  The biggest hope for Rio is the international marketplace, which will be updated Tuesday.

Scre4m looks to be an even bigger disappointment.  Opening to about $19 million this weekend (an average $5,700 at 3,305 theaters), the fourth in a franchise that started way back in 1996 (a month after Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole for his second term) had a $34 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast.  That larger number was not unthinkable given that Scream 3 opened to $35 million in 2000.  Scream 3 went on to gross $89 million, which is equal to about $132 million in today’s dollars.  Scre4m in contrast is headed for about $52 million domestically, according to the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate Estimate.  It looks like Wes Craven can move on to other things (hey, how about The Hills Have Eyes III?), and Weinstein will have to search for another franchise (a new, fresh one, perhaps?).

The Conspirator opened at 707 theaters and should average about $4,700 per location, just a hair under the average for all films.  Not a great start for the historical drama about the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln and destabilize the Union. 

April 15-17, 2011       Pre-Wknd    Wknd    (TBA)   Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual  Ultimate*
Rio (Fox)                [$46.5]    $37.5   $10.2     $136
Scre4m (Weins)           [$34  ]    $19.0   $ 8.0     $ 52
Hop (Uni)                [$11  ]    $ 9.0   $ 2.3     $104 —
Soul Surfer (Tri)        [$ 5.5]    $ 7.0   $ 2.1     $ 37
Hanna (Foc)              [$ 6.5]    $ 6.9   $ 2.1     $ 42

Insidious (FilmDis)      [$ 5.5]    $ 6.9   $ 2.3     $ 53
Arthur (WB)              [$ 6  ]    $ 6.7   $ 2.1     $ 35
Source Code (Sum)        [$ 5  ]    $ 5.8   $ 1.8     $ 53
Your Highness (Uni)      [$ 4.5]    $ 4.0   $ 1.3     $ 22
The Conspirator (Roadsde)[$ 2  ]    $ 3.3   $ 1.1     $ 13

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is reminder of each film’s ShowbuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $110 million total.  Much better than “an average” comparable weekend the last four years, but a touch lower than last year’s comparable number.  A weekend that was supposed to rally the box office out of the slump turns out to be just so-so.  2011 just drags on. 

Top 12 Films: Third Weekend in April
2011  $110(+19% vs 2007-10 average; -2% vs 2010) 

Avg   $ 92  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $112  Kick-Ass $20, Death at a Funeral $16 

2009  $100  17 Again $24, State of Play $14,Crank:High Voltage $7
2008  $ 83  Forbidden Kingdom $21, Forgetting Sarah Marshall $18
2007  $ 73  Fracture $11, Vacancy $8, The Condemned $4

Despite this weekend’s relative disappointment, we’ll stay upbeat.  Looking ahead to next weekend, the comparisons could be very positive next week.  Tyler Perry’s Medea’s Family Reunion (LG) should open in the $30 million range, and Water for Elephants (Fox) should open around $25 million.  Last year, the best opening between April 23-25 was The Back-Up Plan (CBS Films) with only $12.2 million.  The Losers (WB) opened with $9.4 million, and Oceans (Dis) bowed with only $6.1 million. 

Look for updates of the weekend box office on Sunday, based on the Saturday actual numbers. 

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."