June 25, 2012

FULL WEEK BOX OFFICE ACTUALS and YEAR TO DATE June 18-24 — What a Shaky First Half of Summer

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The domestic box office was down again this week, making five out of the past six weeks down significantly from prior years.  We took a look at how the past six weeks collectively stack up to prior years — mid-May through late-June 2012 is almost a 10-year low.

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between June 18 and June 24 grossed $217 million, down 9% from the same week in 2011 and down a pretty bad 23% from the four-year average for the comparable week.  Year to date (now $4.8 billion for wide-release films) is now 11% ahead of 2011 (down from +21% just six weeks ago) and 8% ahead of the more stable multi-year average for the year-to-date period (down from +17% six weeks ago).  

Domestic Box Office Volume: All Wide-Release Films through June 24, 2012 ($ millions)
2011 4-year Average 2012 vs 2011 vs 4yr Avg
Week #25 $238 $281 $217 -9% -23%
Year to Date $4,373 $4,493 $4,840 +11% +8%

In fact, the past six weeks ($1.242 billion for wide releases playing between May 14 and June 24) is the worst comparable six-week period since 2003 ($1.188 billion between May 19 and June 29, 2003).  In the intervening years (2004-2011) this six-week period from mid-May to late-June has averaged $1.356 billion, hitting a high in 2009 with $1.513 billion (when Star Trek was still playing well and each week produced solid hits ranging from Night at the Museum 2, Up, and most notably The Hangover).  This recent six-week period has had some solid players but has been marked by too many weekends with complete misses.  Can the rest of the summer turn things around?  Certainly, Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises will be very successful, but far too many other films will struggle to get to even $75 million, creating a very tenuous foundation for the industry generally. 


Weekend Actuals versus Studio Estimates

The studio estimate for Brave turned out to be quite accurate — the actual opening weekend ($66.324 million) was only 0.6% below the $66.739 estimate Sunday morning.  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ($16.307 million actual opening weekend) came in 1.2% below the $16.50 million weekend studio estimate — not a bad job.  The biggest errors came from studios who wanted to see their returning films hit weekend milestones ($20 million in the case of Madagascar 3 and $8 million for Rock of Ages).   Madagascar 3 came in 2.4% below the Sunday estimate ($19.712 million weekend actual versus $20.20 million studio estimate), while Rock of Ages was fully 4.3% below the studio estimate ($7.655 million actual versus $8.0 million studio estimate).   


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.

Updated ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final Estimates Domestic Final Gross ($ millions) percentile
Madagascar 3 222 94
Brave 218 94
Men in Black 3 183 92
Snow White and the Huntsman
157 89
Prometheus 136 86
Battleship 64 64
The Dictator 60 62
Rock of Ages 46 53
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 44 51
That’s My Boy 44 52
What to Expect When You’re Expecting 42 48
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter 41 47
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World 14 11


Weekend Predictions for the June 29-July 1 weekend should be posted late Wednesday.  This weekend features the debuts of Ted, Magic Mike, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection and People Like Us.

Also, catch the latest update on the ShowbuzzDaily Summer Movie Fantasy Draft.

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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.