March 6, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>Nine full weeks into 2012, domestic box office continues to run well ahead of last year’s glacial pace, and the year-to-date total is now pacing a double-digit percentage increase over of the comparable period’s average for the last several years.

Weekend Actuals versus Studio Estimates

The Lorax came in at $70.2 million for its opening weekend, down half a million dollars from the $70.7 million studio estimate issued Sunday (an over-statement of less than 1% — so give Universal some credit for accuracy).  Project X came in at $21.05 million (a little more than 1% above the studio estimate of $20.775 million).  Very accurate figures from the studios for the openers with no fudging.  In contrast, The Artist was over-stated on Sunday by a hefty 7%.  Weinstein’s studio estimate was $3.9 million for its victory lap weekend, while the actual came in at $3.625 million (moving the Best Picture out of the top 10, from #10 to #11, swapping places with Wanderlust).  With only $2,065 per theater this weekend for The Artist, it is clear there is not much pent-up demand for this novelty of a film.  We can move on and pretend the 84th Academy Awards never happened.  

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between February 27 and March 4 grossed an excellent $193 million, up 37% from the same week in 2011 and up 31% from the four-year average for the comparable week.  Year to date, 2012 is now running 27% ahead of 2011 and now all the way up to 11% ahead of the average for the same period the last four years.        

All Wide-Release Films February 27-March 4
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2011    Avg     2012    2011    Avg

Week #9      $141    $147    $193   
+37%    +31%

Year to Date $1335   $1524   $1696   +27%    +11%

Updated Estimates of Final Grosses

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Grosses (the estimated North American gross when the film ends its run) are summarized below for films released the last six weeks.  Pay attention to the final domestic grosses, which are much more important than individual weekend grosses and especially weekend rankings. 

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax $226 million (95 percentile)
The Vow $130 million (85 percentile) 
Safe House $129 million (85 percentile) 
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island $102 million (79 percentile)
Act of Valor $77 million (70 percentile) 
Project X $68 million (67 percentile) 
Chronicle $66 million (65 percentile)
The Woman in Black $54 million (58 percentile) 
The Grey $51 million (56 percentile) 
This Means War $51 million (56 percentile) 

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance $50 million (55 percentile) 

The Artist $49 million (54 percentile) 

Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace 3D $42 million (49 percentile) 
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds $39 million (46 percentile) 

One for the Money $26 million (29 percentile) 

Secret World of Arrietty $23 million (23 percentile)  

Wanderlust $22 million (23 percentile) 

Big Miracle $19 million (19 percentile) 

Gone $12 million (9 percentile) 

Weekend Predictions for March 9-11 should be posted late Wednesday.


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.