October 22, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Paranormal Activity 3 is THE story at the nation’s theaters this weekend.  An opening weekend of almost $52 million (with almost $26 million in the bank Friday), blasting past Paranormal Activity 2’s $41 million opening weekend this time last year.  And yet the weekend overall is down from last year.  Blame two incredibly lame other openers and the lack of any significant holdover business.  (Last year this weekend was also buttressed by the strong second weekend of Jackass 3-D.) 

Paranormal Activity 3 blew past its forecast ($25.7 million Friday for an expected $51.9 million this weekend versus a forecast of $41.5 million). The third in the fright-filled series is headed for $110 million in North America when it crosses the finish line, according to the ShowBuzzDaily Domestic Final estimate.  International numbers for all recent films will be in our overseas round-up late Sunday.  Critics have been supportive (72% positive at RottenTomatoes).  Read Mitch Salem’s review 

The Three Musketeers is missing its forecast ($2.9 million Friday for an estimated $8.3 million opening weekend, compared to a $12 million prediction).  The completely unnecessary and unwanted re-telling of the classic tale is headed for $19 million in North America.  Critics nationwide have been quite negative (only 25% positive at RottenTomatoes).  Read Mitch Salem’s review


Johnny English Reborn is failing to hit a pathetically low forecast ($1.1 million Friday for an estimated $3.8 million opening weekend, compared to a $5.5 million prediction).  The Rowan Atkinson comedy is on track for $8 million in North America.  Tomorrow’s International Report will show there is a market for Atkinson outside the United States, but not here.  And yet Universal insists on trying to share him with the domestic market, Russell Brand-style.  Thankfully, critics nationwide aren’t cheering (38% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions
October 21-23, 2011     Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

Paranormal Activity 3 Par[$41.5]    $51.9   $25.7     $110
Real Steel (DW/DIS)      [$10.3]    $11.2   $ 3.1     $ 94+
Footloose (Par)          [$ 9.0]    $10.9   $ 3.6     $ 61+

Three Musketeers (Summit)[$12.0]    $ 8.3   $ 2.9     $ 19
Ides of March (Sony)     [$ 5.0]    $ 4.7   $ 1.5     $ 42
Dolphin Tale (WB)        [$ 4.5]    $ 4.7   $ 1.2     $ 77

Moneyball (Sony)         [$ 3.7]    $ 4.3   $ 1.3     $ 76+
Johnny English Reborn Uni[$ 5.5]    $ 3.8   $ 1.1     $  8
The Thing (Uni)          [$ 3.5]    $ 3.2   $ 1.0     $ 16

50/50 (Summit)           [$ 2.9]    $ 2.9   $ 0.9     $ 36

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 an okay $110 million total, down 8% from the same calendar weekend last year (when Paranormal Activity 2 opened) but up 2% from the average number for the same weekend the last four years.  Outside of Paranormal Activity 3 there just isn’t much going on theaters to pump up business.       

Top 12 Films: Weekend #42

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2011  $110  Paranormal Activity 3 $52, Three Musketeers $8,
              Johnny English Reborn $4

2010  $120  Paranormal Activity 2 $41, Hereafter $12    
2009  $106  Saw VI $14, Astro Boy $7, Cirque Du Freak $6

2008  $120  HS Musical 3 $42, Saw V $30, Pride & Glory $6
2007  $ 85  Saw IV $32, Dan in Real Life $12

Avg   $108  

Next Weekend
Opening next week are Puss in Boots from DreamWorks/ Paramount, In Time from Fox (sci-fi thriller starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried), and The Rum Diary from FilmDistrict (adventure starring Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart).  Those movies will be compared to Saw 3D ($22.5 million opening weekend). 

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.