October 20, 2012



With what appears to be the exception of a sensational hold for Argo, this weekend is looking fairly lackluster, according to preliminary Friday numbers at Deadline.  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (Paramount) of course, will dominate the weekend, and because of its bargain-basement cost, it will reap plenty of profit for the studio.  But at $15M (which includes $4.5M from shows that started as early as 9PM on Thursday night), its opening day is down more than 40% from the last Paranormal, and down 25% from Paranormal 2.  It’s headed for around a $30M weekend, which is certainly lots of money for a picture that cost $5M to produce (not counting marketing), but suggests the series is well past its peak.

Here’s a rule of thumb:  when a studio starts spinning how low the budget was for one of its major offerings, that movie is underperforming.  Another example is ALEX CROSS (Summit/Lionsgate), which the studio wants everyone to know cost only $25M or thereabouts (again, without marketing).  That’s nice, but a $4.5M opening day that probably means around a $12M weekend is far from impressive–less than half the opening day for Tyler Perry’s last Madea movie, and even down about 20% from Good Deeds, which didn’t feature the Madea character.  It’s hard to see the franchise value in a picture unlikely to make more than $30-35M in total.

Now for the good news.  ARGO (Warners) is reporting a drop of less than 10% from its opening day last week, and since movies tend to be less front-loaded in their 2d weekends than their first, the film could end up almost even for the weekend while adding only a negligible number of theatres, meaning its word of mouth is fantastic.  Apart from guaranteeing a long and profitable run, this is going to boost the picture’s Oscar hopes.

As for other holdovers, TAKEN 2 (20th) should be down a pretty good 40% or so to $13-14M in its 3d weekend, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (Sony) down only about 10% to $15.5M, SINISTER (Lionsgate) down an expected 50+% to $8.5-9M, HERE COMES THE BOOM (Sony) down around 20% to $9.5M, PITCH PERFECT (Universal) down about 25% to $7M, FRANKENWEENIE (Disney) down 20% to $5.5M, and LOOPER (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict) down about 30% to $4M.

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."