October 27, 2012



Ugliness abounds, unless your title is Argo.

OPENINGS:  CLOUD ATLAS (Warners) will be the tallest tree in the weekend’s bonzai forest, but that’s small comfort for a movie that cost $100M (plus heavy marketing) and probably won’t make much more than $10M for the weekend, based on its $3.5M Friday.  This, sadly, is why there are so few 3-hour, $100M brave experiments in film these days.  SILENT HILL: REVELATION (Open Road) was actually slightly ahead of Cloud Atlas on Friday (by $45K), but that won’t hold up past opening night, and the picture may not reach $9M by Sunday, proof that even on the weekend before Halloween, audiences won’t shell out to see just any horror movie.  Those two are blockbusters, however, compared to the weekend’s other arrivals.  FUN SIZE (Paramount) probably won’t make $4M by Sunday, despite opening in over 3000 theatres, while CHASING MAVERICKS (20th), albeit in 1000 fewer theatres, is equally as pathetic, headed for a $2.5M weekend.

HOLDOVERS:  ARGO (Warners) continues to rack up the pre-Oscar points, with another weekend that’s likely to fall under 25%.  It’s now on track to outgross The Town, and could well become Ben Affleck’s first $100M hit as a director.  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (Paramount) showed what a Weekend 2 plunge looks like, falling 79% from its opening night to this Friday, for what will probably be close to to a 70% weekend drop and, despite the studio’s brave spin, the beginning of the end of the franchise.  ALEX CROSS (Summit/Lionsgate) fell 58% from its opening day and will probably be down more than 50% on a weekend-to-weekend basis.  The longer runs held better, with HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (Sony) down only 30%, and the collection of SINISTER (Lionsgate), TAKEN 2 (20th), HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony) and PITCH PERFECT (Universal) all down in the neighborhood of 40%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE SESSIONS (Fox Searchlight) isn’t showing much strength in its first expansion, with a weekend per-theatre average of $11K or so likely in 20 theatres, still a very long way from wide release.  THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate) hasn’t become a breakout hit, but it’s also not going anywhere, down only about 30% in 736 theatres and probably headed for a $15M+ total if it can hold on to its theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Think of the first weekend of November as the overture to the holiday movie season.  WRECK-IT RALPH (Disney) gets things started in what should be a well-timed bid for the family audience, and Argo gets its first real competition for adult eyeballs with FLIGHT (Paramount), Robert Zemeckis’ flashy vehicle for a very strong Denzel Washington performance.  Also opening:  THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (Universal), probably the only collaboration between RZA, Quentin Tarantino, and Russell Crowe you’ll have a chance to see all year.

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."