August 22, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf


The past week (seven days ending Sunday) came in down 2% versus last year’s comparable week (the first down week after five up weeks in a row).  Year-to-date box office is now down 3.9% versus last year.  The Help was the lone bright spot this weekend, down only 23% from its opening weekend and managing to stay above $20 million for the weekend.  The new films this weekend opened to between $5 million and $11.6 million, not much to write home about and fairly typical for mid-August dogs.   

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between August 15 and 21 grossed an okay $191 million, down 2% versus the same week in 2010 but up 9% from the average comparable week the past four years.  Year to date, all films are now down 3.9% from the same period last year (down marginally from -4.0% last week), and all films year-to-date are up 2% versus the comparable year-to-date number averaged over the last four years.  

All Films August 15-21
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #33     $195    $175    $191   
– 2%    + 9%

Year to Date $7147   $6734   $6868   -3.9%   +2.0%

Updated Estimates of Final Grosses

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Grosses (the estimated North American gross when the film ends its run) are now:  

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($375 million, 99th percentile for all wide releases the past two years)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($181 million, 92nd percentile)
The Smurfs ($143 million, 87th percentile)
The Help ($129 million, 85th percentile)
Cowboys & Aliens ($101 million, 79th percentile)
Crazy, Stupid, Love ($80 million, 71st percentile)
Friends with Benefits ($57 million, 59th percentile)
Final Destination 5 ($47 million, 54th percentile)
30 Minutes or Less ($40 million, 47th percentile)
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($29 million, 33rd percentile)
Conan the Barbarian ($27 million, 30th percentile)
Winnie the Pooh ($27 million, 30th percentile)
Fright Night ($23 million, 25th percentile)
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie ($14 million, 12th percentile)
One Day ($12 million, 10th percentile)

Weekend Actuals vs Sunday’s Studio Projections 

The weekend Studio Projections (Friday and Saturday actual numbers with estimates for Sunday’s box office) for The Help and Spy Kids 4 were a bit high ($500,000 higher than the actual weekend for The Help and $400,00 for Spy Kids 4).  These are typical (and not egregious) overstatements by Disney and Weinstein.  The projections for the other films matched the actual weekend number.    

      Weekend of                 Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      August 15-21               Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                Estimate   Actual    Total

The Help                  (Dis)   $20.5    $20.0     $129
Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)   $16.3    $16.1     $181
Spy Kids 4               (Wein)   $12.0    $11.6     $ 29
Conan the Barbarian        (LG)   $10.0    $10.0     $ 27
The Smurfs               (Sony)   $ 8.0    $ 7.8     $143

Fright Night              (Dis)   $ 7.9    $ 7.7     $ 23
Final Destination 5        (WB)   $ 7.7    $ 7.7     $ 47
30 Minutes or Less       (Sony)   $ 6.3    $ 6.4     $ 40
One Day                 (Focus)   $ 5.1    $ 5.1     $ 12
Crazy, Stupid, Love        (WB)   $ 4.9    $ 4.8     $ 80

Harry Potter 8             (WB)   $ 4.4    $ 4.5     $375
Cowboys & Aliens          (Uni)   $ 4.2    $ 4.2     $101

Read the International Box Office Numbers round-up if you haven’t seen it already.

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.