May 21, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Now 20 full weeks into 2012, year-to-date domestic box office is running 19% ahead of last year’s pace and 15% ahead of the comparable period’s average for the last several years.   Marvel’s The Avengers turned in another terrific weekend, officially $55.644 million for its third weekend (down a decent 46% from last weekend and the second-biggest third weekend of all time).  But a trio of weak openers made the rest of the weekend look pretty tepid and brought the past seven days below the time frame’s pace for the past several years.          


The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between May 14 and May 20 grossed $188 million, down 7% from the same week in 2011 and down 10% from the four-year average for the comparable week.  Year to date, 2012 is now running 19% ahead of 2011 (down from +21% through last week) and 15% ahead of the average for the same period the last four years (down from +17% through last week).


Domestic Box Office Volume: All Wide-Release Films through May 20, 2012 ($ millions)
2011 4-year Average 2012 vs 2011 vs 4yr Avg
Week #20 $202 $209 $188 -7% -10%
Year to Date $3,174 $3,294 $3,786 +19% +15%


Weekend Actuals versus Studio Estimates

The studio estimates were remarkably accurate this weekend.  Marvel’s The Avengers came in with $55.644 million for the weekend in the actual tallies, 1.1% above the $55.057 million estimate issued Sunday morning (based on Friday and Saturday’s actual numbers).  Battleship opened with $25.535 million, 0.9% above the $25.300 million studio estimate, while The Dictator was 0.1% above ($17.435 million actual versus $17.415 million studio estimate) and What to Expect When You’re Expecting was 0.4% above ($10.547 million actual versus $10.500 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 Finals Domestic Final Gross ($ millions) percentile
Marvel’s The Avengers 607 99
Think Like a Man 94 75
Dark Shadows 76 70
Battleship 63 63
The Lucky One 61 62
The Dictator 59 60
The Three Stooges 43 50
The Cabin in the Woods 42 48
Five-Year Engagement 30 34
Pirates! Band of Misfits 29 33
Chimpanzee 29 32
What to Expect When You’re Expecting 20 21
Safe 16 15
Lockout 14 12
The Raven 13 10


Weekend Predictions for May 25-27 should be posted late Wednesday.  This weekend features the debuts of Men in Black 3 and Chernobyl Diaries.



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.