October 8, 2011


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Metcalf
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Real Steel is opening at forecast — at a very decent level, but will it be enough to cover the big visual effects costs and all the above-the-line talent expenses?  More on that in Box Office Footnotes.  In second place, The Ides of March missed its rather moderate forecast.  It will need a shelf’s load of awards to build up some steam and get a second wind.  The weekend as a whole is looking rather ho-hum, up around 1% from the same weekend last year but down 5% from the average weekend for this time of year.

Real Steel is nailing its forecast ($8.5 million Friday for an expected $25.5 million this weekend versus a $26 million forecast). The robot boxer film starring Hugh Jackman is headed for $75 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.  The overseas take for Real Steel will be a critical component of its fight for profitability.  Critics are mixed (58% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

In contrast, The Ides of March is opening below forecast ($3.4 million Friday for an estimated $10.5 million opening weekend, compared to a $13 million prediction).  The George Clooney-Ryan Gosling political thriller is on track for $40 million in North America.  Critics nationwide have been supportive (81% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

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

Dolphin Tale is still the best of the holdovers, and Moneyball is not far behind.  But both have drifted below the $10 million weekend level and should be out of theaters soon.  
October 7-9, 2011       Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

Real Steel (DW/DIS)      [$26.0]    $25.5   $ 8.5     $ 75
Ides of March (Sony)     [$13.0]    $10.5   $ 3.4     $ 40
Dolphin Tale (WB)        [$10.5]    $ 9.5   $ 2.4     $ 75-
Moneyball (Sony)         [$ 8.0]    $ 7.2   $ 2.2     $ 75

50/50 (Summit)           [$ 5.5]    $ 5.9   $ 1.8     $ 36
Dream House (Uni)        [$ 4.0]    $ 4.5   $ 1.4     $ 18
Courageous (Sony)        [$ 6.0]    $ 4.4   $ 1.4     $ 24
Lion King in 3D (Dis)    [$ 5.0]    $ 3.9   $ 1.2     $105-

What’s Your Number (Fox) [$ 3.0]    $ 3.1   $ 1.0     $ 15
Abduction (LG)           [$ 3.0]    $ 3.0   $ 0.9     $ 26

Contagion (WB)           [$ 3.0]    $ 2.9   $ 0.9     $ 78

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 $83 million total, up barely 1% from the same calendar weekend last year (when Life As We Know It and Secretariat opened) but down 5% from the average number for the same weekend the last four years.     

Top 12 Films: Weekend #40

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2011  $ 83  Real Steel $25.5, Ides of March $10.5
2010  $ 81  Life As We Know It $15, Secretariat $13    
2009  $ 96  Couples Retreat $34

2008  $ 87  Quarantine $14, Body of Lies $13
2007  $ 84  TP Why Did I Get Married $21, We Own the Night $11
Avg   $ 87  

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Footloose from Paramount (please stop the remakes!), The Thing from Universal (again!) and The Big Year from Fox (comedy starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson).  Those movies will be compared to Jackass 3-D ($50.4 million opening weekend) and Red ($21.8 million). 

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.