September 20, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The past week (seven days ending Sunday) is up 2% versus last year’s comparable week.  Year-to-date box office is now down 3.8% versus last year, the smallest year-to-year margin we’ve seen so far this year.  The Lion King in 3D is headed for about $118 million in additional domestic box office for Disney, while Contagion has been upgraded to $85 million after a strong second weekend and a solid weekday period.     

The Past Week: Total Box Office Volume

All films in wide release playing between September 12 and September 18 grossed a decent $118 million, up 2% versus the same week in 2010 and up 5% from the average comparable week the past four years.  Year to date, all films are now down 3.8% from the same period last year (better marginally from -3.9% last week and now the smallest margin of the year), 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 12-18
(millions)           4yr              vs      vs
             2010    Avg     2011    2010    Avg

Week #36     $115    $112    $118    
+ 2%    + 5%

Year to Date $7672   $7230   $7380   -3.8%   +2.1%

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)
The Lion King in 3D ($118 million, 83rd percentile)
Contagion ($85 million, 73rd percentile)
Drive ($43 million, 49th percentile)
Final Destination 5 ($42 million, 49th percentile)

Colombiana ($39 million, 46th percentile)
30 Minutes or Less ($37 million, 44th percentile)

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($37 million, 44th percentile)

The Debt ($34 million, 41st percentile)
Our Idiot Brother ($28 million, 31st percentile)

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ($25 million, 28th percentile)
Warrior ($19 million, 20th percentile)
Conan the Barbarian ($19 million, 19th percentile)
Fright Night ($17 million, 17th percentile)

Shark Night 3D ($17 million, 16th percentile)
Straw Dogs ($15 million, 13th percentile)
Apollo 18 ($15 million, 12th percentile)

One Day ($14 million, 11th percentile)I Don’t Know How She Does It ($9 million, 5th 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 Lion King in 3D was low (the Lion King reissue actually came in about $900,000 higher in the actuals).     


      Weekend of                 Sunday    Monday   Showbuzz
      September 12-18            Studio    Weekend  Domestic
      (millions)                Estimate   Actual    Total

The Lion King in 3D       (Dis)   $29.3    $30.2     $118 Contagion                  (WB)   $14.5    $14.5     $ 85+
Drive                 (FilmDis)   $11.0    $11.3     $ 43
The Help                  (Dis)   $ 6.4    $ 6.5     $169
Straw Dogs               (Sony)   $ 5.0    $ 5.1     $ 15
I Don’t Know How She Does(Wein)   $ 4.5    $ 4.4     $  9
Warrior                    (LG)   $ 2.8    $ 2.9     $ 19

The Debt                (Focus)   $ 2.9    $ 2.9     $ 34
Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)   $ 2.6    $ 2.7     $182
Colombiana               (Sony)   $ 2.3    $ 2.3     $ 39

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.