May 26, 2012


The softness of MEN IN BLACK 3‘s (Sony) appeal noted in Mitch Metcalf’s predictions for this weekend seems to be very real.  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, and contrary to much more bullish forecasts elsewhere, MIB3 is heading for a mediocre $18M at the Friday boxoffice.  (By way of comparison, last year The Hangover Part II, on its 2d day of release, grossed $30M on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.)  Sony is claiming that MIB3 will play as a family movie and have enormous Saturday-Sunday matinee bumps that will bring it to $75M over the 4-day holiday weekend.  But if it doesn’t play out that way (and the kid audience doesn’t even remember MIB2‘s opening in 2002), the number could easily slip to the mid-$60Ms, which wouldn’t even be in the Top 10 of Memorial Day weekend openings.

Even more terrifying for Sony, the early boxoffice news from overseas is mixed at best, with strong numbers in Russia, Latin America and the smaller Asian territories outweighed by weak returns in such important areas as Europe and Australia.  With a production/marketing cost of $400M, plus giant back-end deals for the talent, a worldwide gross of $450M for MIB3 (equaling the 2002 sequel–not accounting for inflation–which is currently at #128 on the worldwide boxoffice list) wouldn’t even pay the bills for this one, let alone re-establish the franchise.

The weekend’s other opening, CHERNOBYL DIARIES (Warners) is a non-factor, heading for $11.5M over the 4-day weekend.  The movie was cheap to produce, but carried a hefty marketing tag, so this result is less than the studio had hoped.

THE AVENGERS (Disney) will finally fall to 2d place for a weekend, but its $35M 3-day total ($45M over 4 days) will make it the #2 4th weekend in history, behind only Avatar, and it should go over $520M by Monday, which will put it in position to pass The Dark Knight‘s $533M next week and become the #3 top US grosser of all time, behind Avatar and Titanic.

Other holdovers aren’t faring as well.  BATTLESHIP (Universal), with direct competition from MIB3, is sinking fast, down close to 60% over the 3-day weekend and headed for a terrible $65-70M total.  THE DICTATOR (Paramount) will be down around 45% over the 3-day weekend, headed for a total of $60-65M (not great, but at far less cost than Battleship.)  WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING (Lionsgate) is most stable, but at the lowest numbers, down a likely 30-35% over 3 days, and still probably only getting to around $40M in all.  DARK SHADOWS (Warners) should fall a similar amount, on its way to around $80M.

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) had a big expansion to 1233 theatres, and should have a solid 3-day average of about $5K per theatre.  And despite losing around 600 theatres, THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate) should decline only about 30% for the 3-day weekend as it continues to inch its way to a $400M US total.

Stay with SHOWBUZZDAILY All Weekend For Updated Boxoffice and Analysis!

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."