May 29, 2012


Now 21 full weeks into 2012, year-to-date domestic box office is running 15% ahead of last year’s pace.  Just two weeks ago, box office was running 21% ahead of 2011.  The past week was off a stunning 32% from the same week last year when The Hangover Part II grossed $118 million (Thursday-Sunday, May 26-29), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides grossed $63 million (Monday-Sunday, May 23-29), Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed $53 million (Thursday-Sunday, May 26-29) and Bridesmaids grossed $26 million (Monday-Sunday, May 23-29).  In contrast, this past week the top four films were not even close: Marvel’s The Avengers grossed $56 million (Monday-Sunday, May 21-27), MIB3 grossed $55 million (Friday-Sunday, May 25-27), Battleship grossed $19 million (Monday-Sunday, May 21-27) and The Dictator grossed just under $17 million (Monday-Sunday, May 21-27).            


The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between May 21 and May 27 grossed $205 million, down 32% from the same week in 2011 and down 17% from the four-year average for the comparable week.  Year to date, 2012 is now running 15% ahead of 2011 (down from +21% just two weeks ago) and 13% ahead of the average for the same period the last four years (down from +17% two weeks ago).

Domestic Box Office Volume: All Wide-Release Films through May 27, 2012 ($ millions)
2011 4-year Average 2012 vs 2011 vs 4yr Avg
Week #21 $300 $247 $205 -32% -17%
Year to Date $3,474 $3,541 $3,991 +15% +13%

Weekend Actuals versus Studio Estimates

The studio estimates were mostly accurate this weekend.  Men in Black 3 opened with $54.593 million for the Friday-Sunday weekend in the actual tallies, 0.7% below the $55.000 million estimate issued Sunday morning (based on Friday and Saturday’s actual numbers).  Marvel’s The Avengers came in with $36.687 million in its fourth weekend, 0.8% below the $36.987 million studio estimate, while Battleship was 2.3% above ($11.050 million actual versus $10.800 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 611 99
Men in Black 3 154 89
Think Like a Man 94 76
Dark Shadows 79 71
Battleship 68 67
The Dictator 66 65
The Lucky One 61 62
Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 39 46
What to Expect When You’re Expecting 38 45
Pirates! Band of Misfits 30 34
Chimpanzee 26 30
Safe 15 14
Chernobyl Diaries 14 12
The Raven 14 10

Weekend Predictions for June 1-3 should be posted late Wednesday.  This weekend features the debut of Snow White and the Huntsman.



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.