August 29, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The past week (seven days ending Sunday) came in down 12% versus last year’s comparable week (the second down week in a row).  Year-to-date box office is now down 4.1% versus last year.  The Help again was the lone bright spot this weekend, down only 27% from last weekend and shaking off the effect of theater closures in the northeast Saturday due to Hurricane (well, Tropical Storm) Irene.  The new films this weekend were pretty much DOA.   

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between August 22 and 28 grossed a weak $138 million, down 12% versus the same week in 2010 and down 8% from the average comparable week the past four years.  Year to date, all films are now down 4.1% from the same period last year (up marginally from -3.9% last week), and all films year-to-date are up about 2% versus the comparable year-to-date number averaged over the last four years.  

All Films August 22-28
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #34     $157    $151    $138   
-12%    – 8%

Year to Date $7305   $6885   $7006   -4.1%   +1.8%

Updated Estimates of Final Grosses

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

Rise of the Planet of the Apes ($176 million, 92nd percentile)
Captain America ($175 million, 91st percentile)
The Help ($143 million, 87th percentile)
The Smurfs ($140 million, 87th percentile)
Cowboys & Aliens ($99 million, 78th percentile)
Crazy, Stupid, Love ($80 million, 71st percentile)
Friends with Benefits ($56 million, 59th percentile)
Final Destination 5 ($45 million, 52nd percentile)
30 Minutes or Less ($39 million, 46th percentile)
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($33 million, 40th percentile)
Colombiana ($29 million, 32nd percentile)
Our Idiot Brother ($25 million, 28th percentile)
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($22 million, 23rd percentile)
Conan the Barbarian ($20 million, 21st percentile)
Fright Night ($20 million, 21st percentile)

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie ($13 million, 10th percentile)
One Day ($13 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 all films were very close to the actual weekend number.    

      Weekend of                 Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      August 22-28               Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                Estimate   Actual    Total

The Help                  (Dis)   $14.3    $14.5     $143+
Colombiana               (Sony)   $10.3    $10.4     $ 29
Don’t Be Afraid of Dark (FilmD)   $ 8.7    $ 8.9     $ 22
Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)   $ 8.6    $ 8.5     $176
Our Idiot Brother        (Wein)   $ 6.6    $ 7.0     $ 25
Spy Kids 4               (Wein)   $ 5.7    $ 6.0     $ 33
The Smurfs               (Sony)   $ 4.8    $ 4.8     $140
Fright Night              (Dis)   $ 3.0    $ 3.1     $ 20
Conan the Barbarian        (LG)   $ 3.1    $ 3.2     $ 20
Final Destination 5        (WB)   $ 2.4    $ 2.5     $ 45

Read the International Box Office Numbers round-up if you haven’t seen it already.  The post features a new set of categories for estimated movie profitability.

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.