May 26, 2012


The 21st weekend of 2012 is looking like a stunningly weak $138 million for the Top 12 films Friday-Sunday, down 36% from this weekend last year (one of those rare 2011 bright spots) and down 19% from the more normal four-year average for the same three-day weekend.  Men in Black will be #1 for the weekend, but its a pretty sad opening for a film that had no significant opening competition on a holiday weekend.  

Men in Black 3 from Sony opened with $17.8 million Friday and is headed for an estimated $46.4 million three-day weekend, falling short of the rather conservative $55.0 million ShowBuzzDaily  three-day forecast.  The film should average $10,900 for the weekend at 4,248  theaters.  The four-day gross including Memorial Day looks like a total of $57.0 million, which would put it at #14 on the all-time Memorial Weekend opening list (just behind The Longest Yard at $58.6 million and ahead of Mission: Impossible at $56.8 and Godzilla at $55.7 million — almost ridiculous comparisons because they date back to the 1990s and actually had films opening against them).  MIB3 is headed for a preliminary $131 million in North America, missing the $190 million the reviled MIB2 grossed in 2002 and far below the $251 million for the original MIB in 1997.  Look for a complete international revenue update late Sunday.

Chernobyl Diaries from Warner Brothers grossed $3.5 million Friday and is headed for an estimated $10.1 million opening weekend, hitting the DOA $10.1 million ShowBuzzDaily forecast.   The film should average $4,200 for the weekend at 2,433 theaters.  The horror film should total $12.4 million over the four-day holiday weekend.  Chernobyl Diaries is headed for a preliminary $21 million in North America.      

Marvel’s The Avengers is on track to gross $35 million in its fourth weekend, a touch below our forecast.  Our Domestic Final estimate for The Avengers at $607 million.  The best second-weekend hold goes to……What to Expect When You’re Expecting, down only 26% over the three-day frame.  We have raised its Domestic Final estimate to a still-weak $41 million.          

In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions

($ millions)
May 25-27, 2012 Pre-Wknd Showbuzz Forecast Early Weekend Estimate Actual Friday Gross Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
Men in Black 3 Sony [55.0] 46.4 17.8 131
The Avengers Dis [36.5] 35.0 9.5 607
Battleship Uni [13.5] 11.0 3.0 68
Chernobyl Diaries WB [10.0] 10.1 3.5 21
The Dictator Par [10.0] 9.3 2.8 66
What to Expect When You’re Expecting LG [6.5] 7.8 2.2 41
Dark Shadows WB [7.5] 7.3 2.0 78
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel LG [4.5] 6.3 1.7 n/a
The Hunger Games LG [2.0] 2.2 0.6 400
Think Like a Man Sony [1.5] 1.4 0.4 93

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 $138 million total Friday-Sunday, down 36% from the same calendar weekend last year and down 19% from the average for this weekend the past four years.  

($ millions)
WEEKEND #21 Weekend Volume: Top 12 Films Top Movies Opening Each Weekend
2012 $138 Men in Black 3 $46, Chernobyl Diaries $10
2011 $216 Hangover Part II $86, Kung Fu Panda $48
2010 $145 Sex and the City 2 $31, Prince of Persia $30
2009 $161 Up $68, Drag Me to Hell $16
2008 $164 Sex and the City $57, The Strangers $21
Avg 2008-11 $172


Check back tomorrow morning for updated weekend figures and revised estimates for domestic final grosses, as well as updated international figures later in the day Sunday.



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.