July 30, 2011


>Holy Smurfs!  The Smurfs will exceed their estimate and Cowboys & Aliens is falling short of its prediction enough to put the two films on a course for a photo-finish at the end of the weekend.  Both films look like they will open around $36 million.  Crazy, Stupid, Love looks like $18.5 million, somewhat ahead of its forecast.  Overall, the weekend is up 26% versus the same weekend last year.   

The Smurfs should open way above forecast ($13.3 million Friday with an estimated $36 million opening weekend, compared to a $23 million prediction).  The Smurfs is on track for $122 million in North America.

Cowboys & Aliens is opening below forecast (over $13 million Friday for an expected $35.5 million this weekend versus a $41.5 million forecast).  In case you missed them, click here to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.  Cowboys & Aliens is headed for $96 million in North America when it crosses the finish line, according to the ShowBuzzDaily Domestic Final estimate (a massive miss for all the studios involved — see Box Office Footnotes for more on that later today). International numbers will be in our overseas round-up late Sunday.  And see Mitch Salem’s review of Cowboys & Aliens.  

Crazy, Stupid, Love will exceed its forecast somewhat.  The PG13 comedy is expected to reach $18.5 million this weekend, above the $16 million prediction.  The film is headed for $70 million total in North America.  Read Mitch Salem’s review of Crazy, Stupid, Love

Captain America should drop a disappointing 61% from its opening, and the film has been downgraded to $178 million.  Also in its second weekend, Friends with Benefits is looking like it will fall a more reasonable 46%.  Finally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon now are on track for the identical Domestic Final, $362 million.     

July 29-31, 2011        Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

The Smurfs (Sony)        [$23  ]    $36.0   $13.3     $122
Cowboys & Aliens (Uni)   [$41.5]    $35.5   $13.0     $ 96

Captain America (Par)    [$32  ]    $25.5   $ 7.9     $178-

Harry Potter 8  (WB)     [$22  ]    $22.5   $ 6.6     $362
Crazy, Stupid, Love (WB) [$16  ]    $18.5   $ 6.6     $ 70

Friends w/ Benefits Sony [$10  ]    $10.0   $ 3.2     $ 66 
Horrible Bosses (WB)     [$ 7.5]    $ 7.2   $ 2.2     $120
Transformers 3  (Par/DW) [$ 6.5]    $ 6.0   $ 1.7     $362
Zookeeper (Sony)         [$ 5.5]    $ 4.2   $ 1.4     $ 82

Cars 2 (Dis)             [$ 3  ]    $ 2.4   $ 0.7     $188
Winnie the Pooh (Dis)    [$ 3  ]    $ 1.8   $ 0.5     $ 32

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a 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 Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade. 

Limited Releases 

Some solid openings at the art house:  The Devil’s Double (drama from Lionsgate) should average $22,100 this weekend at five locations, Attack the Block (sci-fi comedy from Sony/Screen Gems) should average $18,900 at eight locations, and The Guard (from Sony Classics) should average $18,500 at four theaters.  On the other hand, Life in a Day (documentary from National Geographic Entertainment) should average a weak $4,600 for the weekend at 11 locations.

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $171 million total, up 26% from the same calendar weekend last year when Dinner for Schmucks, Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore and Charlie St. Cloud opened.  

 Top 12 Films: Weekend #30

     Volume     (millions)
2011  $171  (
+22% vs 2007-10 average; +26% vs 2010) 


Avg   $140  
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $136  Dinner for Schmucks $23, Cats & Dogs Revenge $12    

2009  $114  Funny People $23, Aliens in Attic $8

2008  $145  Mummy: Dragon Emperor $40, Swing Vote $8
2007  $165  
Bourne Ultimatum $69, Underdog $12

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Rise of the Planet of the Apes from Fox and The Change-Up from Universal.  Those movies will be compared to The Other Guys ($35.5 million opening weekend) and Step Up 3-D ($16 million), making next weekend a possible up weekend versus 2010. 

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

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.