October 1, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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This weekend is all about the holdovers.  It looks like Dolphin Tale and Moneyball will lead the way this weekend, followed closely by The Lion King in 3D.  Courageous and 50/50 look like they will be the strongest of the four openers, while the poorly reviewed Dream House and What’s Your Number? trail.  Business is decent for early October:  the top 12 films should hit $91 million, up 5% over the same weekend last year.

Courageous is opening above forecast ($3.1 million Friday for an expected $9.3 million this weekend versus a $7 million forecast). The Christian-themed drama is headed for $29 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.  Very few reviews are in for this movie, but the limited opinion is mixed (50% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

50/50 is also opening below forecast ($2.9 million Friday for an estimated $8.4 million opening weekend, compared to a $10.5 million prediction).  The serious comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen is on track for $35 million in North America.  Critics nationwide also have been extremely supportive (92% positive at RottenTomatoes). 

Dream House is opening slightly below forecast ($2.9 million Friday for an expected $7.8 million this weekend versus a $9 million forecast).  The movie is headed for $15 million in North America.  Critics nationwide have been nearly universally negative about this horror-thriller starring Daniel Craig (a meager 7% positive so far).       

What’s Your Number? is also opening well below forecast ($2.0 million Friday for an expected $5.5 million this weekend versus an $8 million forecast).  The movie is headed for $15 million in North America.  Critics have been negative for this Anna Faris comedy (22% positive so far).      

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

Dolphin Tale looks like it will be down only 23% from its opening weekend, enough for #1 this weekend against the weak quartet of openers.  Moneyball should be down 37%, but its final gross will be very close to Dolphin Tale‘s thanks to strong older-skewing midweek business (and it will push past the family film if Moneyball sees any awards love).  
Sep 30-Oct 2, 2011      Pre-Wknd    Wknd            Showbuzz
(millions)              Showbuzz    Early   Friday  Domestic
                        Forecast    Proj.   Actual   Final*

Dolphin Tale (WB)        [$13.5]    $14.7   $ 3.5     $ 80
Moneyball (Sony)         [$12.5]    $12.2   $ 3.9     $ 75+

Lion King in 3D (Dis)    [$12.5]    $11.8   $ 3.3     $120
Courageous (Sony)        [$ 7  ]    $ 9.3   $ 3.1     $ 29
50/50 (Summit)           [$10.5]    $ 8.4   $ 2.9     $ 35
Dream House (Uni)        [$ 9  ]    $ 7.8   $ 2.9     $ 15
What’s Your Number (Fox) [$ 8  ]    $ 5.5   $ 2.0     $ 15
Abduction (LG)           [$ 5  ]    $ 5.6   $ 1.7     $ 28

Killer Elite (OpenRoad)  [$ 5  ]    $ 4.8   $ 1.5     $ 26
Contagion (WB)           [$ 5  ]    $ 4.8   $ 1.5     $ 79

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 $91 million total, up 5% from the same calendar weekend last year when The Social Network opened wide.     

Top 12 Films: Weekend #39
     Volume     (millions)

2011  $ 91  (
+7% vs 2007-10 average; +5% vs 2010) 

Avg   $ 85            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $ 86  Social Network $22, Case 39 $5, Let Me In $5    

2009  $ 92  Zombieland $25, Toy Story 3D $12, Invention Lying $7
2008  $ 95  Beverly Hills Chihuahua $29, Nick & Norah’s… $11
2007  $ 67  Heartbreak Kid $14, The Seeker: Dark Rising $4


Next Weekend

Opening next week are The Ides of March from Sony (George Clooney-Ryan Gosling thriller) and Real Steel from Disney (Hugh Jackman action drama).  Those movies will be compared to Life As We Know It ($14.5 million opening weekend), Secretariat ($12.7 million), and My Soul to Take ($6.8 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.