August 1, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The past week (seven days ending Sunday) came in up 20% versus last year’s comparable week (the third significant increase in as many weeks).  Year-to-date box office is now down 5% versus last year.  Cowboys & Aliens edged The Smurfs in the weekend photo finish, but the ShowBuzzDaily domestic gross estimate (the number that really counts) gives the strong edge to The Smurfs for total North America gross potential.   

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume
All films in wide release playing between July 25 and July 31 grossed a very good $261 million, up 20% versus the same week in 2010 and up 16% from the average comparable week the past four years.  Year to date, all films are now down 5% from the same period last year (down from -6% last week), and all films year-to-date are up 1% versus the comparable year-to-date number averaged over the last four years.  
All Films July 25-31
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #30     $217    $226    $261   
+20%    +16%

Year to Date $6547   $6135   $6191   – 5%    + 1%

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

Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($363 million, 99th percentile for all wide releases the past two years)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($361 million, 99th percentile)

Cars 2 ($188 million, 92nd percentile)
Captain America ($179, 92nd percentile)
The Smurfs ($121 million, 84th percentile)
Horrible Bosses ($120 million, 84th percentile)Bad Teacher ($99 million, 78th percentile)
Cowboys & Aliens ($98 million, 78th percentile)

Zookeeper ($82 million, 72nd percentile)
Crazy, Stupid, Love ($72 million, 68th percentile)

Friends with Benefits ($63 million, 63rd percentile)
Larry Crowne ($35 million, 42nd percentile)
Winnie the Pooh ($32 million, 37th percentile)
Monte Carlo ($22 million, 23rd percentile)

Note Harry Potter’s domestic final estimate is now slightly below Transformers’.

Weekend Actuals vs Sunday’s Studio Projections

The weekend Studio Projections (Friday and Saturday actual numbers with estimates for Sunday’s box office) were more accurate for Cowboys & Aliens ($200,000 lower than the actual weekend) than The Smurfs ($600,000 higher than the actual weekend number).  But this “#1” weekend claim is ultimately meaningless because The Smurfs, as a family film, will outgross Cowboys & Aliens (which will suffer steeper sci-fi declines) in the long run.  Captain America in its second weekend came in $700,000 above the studio weekend forecast, while the other films were fairly close to their Sunday projections.  .  

      Weekend of                 Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      July 25-31                 Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                Estimate   Actual    Total

Cowboys & Aliens          (Uni)   $36.2    $36.4     $ 98
The Smurfs               
(Sony)   $36.2    $35.6     $121

Captain America           (Par)   $24.9    $25.6     $179–
Harry Potter 8            
(WB)   $21.9    $22.0     $361

Crazy, Stupid, Love        (WB)   $19.3    $19.1     $ 72
Friends with Benefits   
(Sony)   $ 9.3    $ 9.3     $ 63–
Horrible Bosses
            (WB)   $ 7.1    $ 7.2     $120

Transformers 3            (Par)   $ 6.0    $ 6.1     $363
Zookeeper                (Sony)   $ 4.2    $ 4.3     $ 82 
Cars 2                    (Dis)   $ 2.3    $ 2.3     $188
Winnie the Pooh           (Dis)   $ 1.8    $ 1.8     $ 32

Look for the Summer Movie Draft update later today (Monday).

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.