April 23, 2011

FRIDAY APR 22 BOX OFFICE NUMBERS: Another Strong Weekend Led by Rio and Madea

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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This is shaping up to be a VERY strong second weekend in a row at the box office.  Early box office numbers indicate strong performances by Rio and Hop, a solid opening for Madea, and an OK opening for Water for Elephants.    

Based on Friday’s numbers, Rio remains at #1 with a projected $27.5 million this weekend, down only 30% from last weekend.  Rio has been upgraded to $157 million on the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final Gross estimate.  The top opener is Madea’s Big Happy Family at $26 million, somewhat lower than forecast Thursday but still solid.  Madea has a $59 million Domestic Final Gross estimate.  Opening at expectations, Water for Elephants should open with $16.8 million and is headed for a Domestic Final Gross of $45 million.  And Disneynature’s African Cats should open as forecast with $7.3 million on its way toan estimated Domestic Final Gross of $21 million.  Hop, boosted by Easter weekend, actually was UP versus last weekend to $12 million, from $10.7 million, an extraordinary feat.  Hop‘s Domestic Final Gross has been upgraded back up to $126 million. 

On a per theater basis, Madea will average a very good $11,300 at 2,288 theaters.  Water for Elephants should average $6,000 at 2,817 theaters, and African Cats should average a similar number at a lower theater count (1,220).  $6,000 per theater is above the norm for opening weekends and is a decent number.  In sum, good performances from all three movies.  And keep in mind that although African Cats is only a $7 million opening weekend (because of the low theater count), the film will have decent legs and a very good international return, based on past performance of the series.

April 22-24, 2011       Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*
Rio (Fox)                [$26  ]    $27.5   $11.2     $157 ++
Madea’s Big Happy Family [$31  ]    $26.0   $10.7     $ 59
Water for Elephants (Fox)[$16  ]    $16.8   $ 7.0     $ 45
Hop (Uni)                [$ 9  ]    $12.0   $ 4.4     $126 ++
African Cats (Dis)       [$ 7  ]    $ 7.3   $ 3.2     $ 21

Scre4m (Weins)           [$ 8.5]    $ 6.0   $ 2.4     $ 43 —
Soul Surfer (Tri)        [ N/A ]    $ 5.9   $ 2.2     $ 44
Insidious (FilmDis)      [ N/A ]    $ 5.4   $ 2.1     $ 57
Source Code (Sum)        [ N/A ]    $ 5.3   $ 1.8     $ 58
Hanna (Foc)              [ N/A ]    $ 4.7   $ 1.7     $ 45

Arthur (WB)              [ N/A ]    $ 4.4   $ 1.7     $ 39

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 $125 million total.  This is a huge increase from comparable weekends the past few years.   

Top 12 Films: Fourth Weekend in April
2011  $125  (+49% vs 2007-10 average; +39% vs 2010) 

Avg   $ 84  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $ 90  Back-Up Plan $12, The Losers $9, Oceans $6 

2009  $104  Obsessed $29, Fighting $11, The Soloist $10, Earth $9
2008  $ 80  Baby Mama $17, Harold & Kumar Escape $15,Deception $2
2007  $ 62  The Invisible $8, Next $7, Condemned $4

Next weekend should also be solid.  Opening next week are Fast Five from Universal, Prom from Disney, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil from Weinstein, and Dylan Dog: Dead of Night from Freestyle Releasing.  Look for Fast Five to make the most noise and ignite the entire weekend.  Also, Rio should continue to do well.  These strong films will be enough to fuel increase from the same weekend last year when A Nightmare on Elm Street opened with $33 million and Furry Vengeance struggled with a little more than $6 million.  A positive weekend would be the third in a row, and as movies do well they provide a platform for trailers of upcoming films, creating a cycle of success for future weekends and the summer season itself.

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."