January 16, 2012

MLK Weekend Box Office — No Record

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Written by: Mitch Salem

>There was some confusion about the total box office this weekend, as other sites (including and initially reported this MLK weekend was looking like it was on a record-setting pace.  ShowBuzzDaily consistently reported that the three-day weekend was at best even (or down slightly) from the 2011 weekend, which in turn was far below recent MLK weekends.  Of course, there can always be confusion because some look at the traditional three-day portion of the long weekend, and others focus on the entire four-day period.  Well, the final results are in, and no matter how you look at (three-day or four-day, top 12 films vs all films), box office volume for MLK 2012 is anything but a record.  In fact, by every measure, it is running at 2011’s weak pace.

The table below (with additional data from confirms that MLK 2012 is nowhere near a record for total business.  ShowBuzzDaily usually tracks the first column (the top 12 films over the three-day period).  The top 12 films usually account for 88% of the total business, and we concentrate on the three-day period each weekend so that comparisons can be made more fairly across the calendar.  

MLK Weekend Domestic Box Office Volume ($ millions)

          3-Day Fri-Sun         4-Day Fri-Mon
        Top 12   All films    Top 12    All films
2012    $115.4    $130.3      $141.6    $155.9
2011    $115.5    $130.3      $140.1    $158.9
2010    $157.0    $170.1      $193.3    $209.5
2009    $164.8    $192.9      $197.4    $231.2
2008    $132.4    $154.5      $158.9    $187.1 


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."