March 3, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The ninth weekend of 2012 is another good one, running 13% ahead of last year’s same weekend and 9% ahead of the multi-year average for this weekend.  This is the fourth weekend in a row that 2012 volume beats both the easy target of last year’s depressed levels as well as the more difficult to beat multi-year averages.  (The first five weekends of 2012 were generally ahead of 2011 but not other recent years.)  The Lorax mowed down the competition, powered by 70 marketing partnerships.  It’s the best opening since November’s Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and fills somewhere in between two big openings from this same weekend the last two years (bigger than Rango last year, not in the same league as mega-hit Alice in Wonderland in 2010).  Project X opened at forecast in an unspectacular but fairly solid fashion.    

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax from Universal opened with $17.4 million Friday for an estimated $60.4 million for Friday-Sunday, way above the $44.0 million ShowBuzzDaily forecast.  The 3D animated film is averaging $16,200 on 3,729 screens.  The Lorax is headed for a preliminary $198 million total domestic.  Reviews have been mediocre, 57% positive to date at RottenTomatoes. Mitch Salem is decidedly negative in his review.

Project X (from Warner Brothers) opened with $8.1 million Friday for $19.8 million Friday-Sunday, slightly exceeding the more moderate $18.5 million prediction.  The “found footage” comedy from producer Todd Phillips (director of The Hangover) should average around $6,500 at 3,055 theaters this weekend.  Project X is headed for a preliminary $65 million domestic.  Only 27% positive reviews for Project X at RottenTomatoes, and Mitch Salem is definitely among the fans in his review.

Act of Valor looks like it will be down 48% in its second weekend, right in line with expectations.  Best Picture The Artist is headed for $3.6 million weekend on its victory tour, with $2,035 per theater (in line with our forecast) at 1,756 theaters (slightly lower than our initial estimate).  In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions

March 2-4, 2012         Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early    FRI    Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final

The Lorax (Uni)          [$44.0]    $60.4   $17.4     $198
Project X (WB)           [$18.5]    $19.8   $ 8.1     $ 65
Act of Valor (Rel)       [$13.0]    $12.7   $ 3.7     $ 73
TP’s Good Deeds (LG)     [$ 7.5]    $ 6.3   $ 1.8     $ 36
Journey 2 (WB)           [$ 7.2]    $ 5.7   $ 1.3     $100-
Safe House (Uni)         [$ 6.5]    $ 6.8   $ 1.9     $128
The Vow (Sony)           [$ 5.2]    $ 5.6   $ 1.8     $129
This Means War (Fox)     [$ 4.8]    $ 5.2   $ 1.7     $ 50
Ghost Rider 2 (Sony)     [$ 4.6]    $ 4.3   $ 1.1     $ 50
The Artist (Wein)        [$ 4.2]    $ 3.6   $ 0.9     $ 49+

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.  

Total Box Office Volume 

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like a very good $137 million total Friday-Sunday, up 13% from the same calendar weekend last year and up 9% from the more typical volume for this weekend in other years.            

Top 12 Films: Weekend #9

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2012  $137  The Lorax $60, Project X $20

2011  $121  Rango $38, Adjustment Bureau $21, Beastly $10
2010  $186  Alice in Wonderland $116, Brooklyn’s Finest $13
2009  $102  Watchmen $55

2008  $ 91  10,000 B.C. $36, College Road Trip $14
Avg   $125

Check back tomorrow for updated weekend figures and revised estimates for domestic final grosses.


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.