September 13, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The past week (seven days ending Sunday) is up 4% versus last year’s comparable week.  Year-to-date box office is now down 3.9% versus last year.  Contagion opened in first place and is headed for $72 million domestic.  Warrior opened below forecast and is on track for $24 million in North America.  Despite falling to second place, The Help continues to impress and has been upgraded to $171 million domestic.     

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between September 5 and September 11 grossed a decent $135 million, up 4% versus the same week in 2010 and up 7% 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 (better marginally from -4.0% 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 September 5-11
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #36     $117    $113    $121    
+ 4%    + 7%

Year to Date $7557   $7118   $7262   -3.9%   +2.0%

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. 

The Help ($171 million, 91st percentile)
Contagion ($72 million, 68th percentile)
Final Destination 5 ($43 million, 49th percentile)

Colombiana ($41 million, 48th percentile)
30 Minutes or Less ($39 million, 46th percentile)

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($39 million, 46th percentile)

The Debt ($38 million, 45th percentile)
Our Idiot Brother ($31 million, 35th percentile)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($28 million, 31st percentile)
Warrior ($24 million, 25th percentile)
Conan the Barbarian ($19 million, 19th percentile)
Fright Night ($18 million, 18th percentile)

Shark Night 3D ($16 million, 15th percentile)
One Day ($15 million, 13th percentile)
Apollo 18 ($14 million, 12th 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 Contagion and Warrior were high (Contagion actually came in about $700,000 lower today, while Warrior was $400,000 lower in the actuals).  Also note that the list below includes only wide-release films.  Not shown is the independent film Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain, which actually beat the disaster Bucky Larson: Born to Be a StarKevin Hart played in only 98 theaters and grossed $1.9 million for the weekend (a great $19,474 average per theater).  In contrast, Bucky averaged $943 per theater at 1,500 locations.  Ouch.   


      Weekend of                 Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      September 5-11             Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                Estimate   Actual    Total

Contagion                  (WB)   $23.1    $22.4     $ 72
The Help                  (Dis)   $ 8.7    $ 8.9     $171+
Warrior                    (LG)   $ 5.6    $ 5.2     $ 24
The Debt                (Focus)   $ 4.9    $ 4.8     $ 36
Colombiana               (Sony)   $ 4.0    $ 3.9     $ 41
Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)   $ 3.9    $ 3.9     $182

Shark Night 3D            (Rel)   $ 3.5    $ 3.4     $ 16
Apollo 18                (Wein)   $ 2.9    $ 2.8     $ 14-
Our Idiot Brother        (Wein)   $ 2.8    $ 2.7     $ 31
Bucky Larson             (Sony)   $ 1.5    $ 1.4     $  2

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.