May 12, 2012



The movie that set the all-time highest opening weekend record last week?  It’s gonna win this weekend, too.

THE AVENGERSDisney‘s estimate of a $100M weekend may be aggressive (although with Mother’s Day in the mix, maybe not), but it hardly matters, since Avengers will barrel past the $75M current 2d weekend record with plenty of room to spare.  Here’s how successful The Avengers is:  remember all the fuss about what a giant hit The Hunger Games was?  Well, by Sunday, Avengers will be within $30M (at least) of Hunger Games‘s 2-month gross.  And of course the other part of the story is overseas, where Avengers is already over $500M.  A worldwide total over $1B is a foregone conclusion, and the question is whether Avengers can catch the final Harry Potter at $1.3B.  (“Duh” story of this week:  Disney chief Bob Iger announcing that the studio has Avengers 2 in development.)  

OPENINGS:   DARK SHADOWS (Warners) is the first flop of the summer movie season, heading for a mid-$20Ms weekend after a $9.7M Friday.  Had Tim Burton made the picture on a budget (like the $60M he spent on his Sweeney Todd), it could have found its way to profit, but Shadows had double the cost, and is unlikely to make all that much more than Sweeney‘s $53M US total.  (Eyes will now be on Johnny Depp’s even bigger-budgeted Lone Ranger vehicle next year.)  On a much smaller scale, GIRL IN PROGRESS (Lionsgate/Summit) should have an OK opening at 322 theatres, with around a $4K weekend per-theatre average.

HOLDOVERS: Everything that opened in April is of course in a different boxoffice universe from Avengers.  THINK LIKE A MAN is still holding well, down only 40% from last Friday and heading for perhaps a $90M total.  THE LUCKY ONE (Warners) is holding even better, but at a lower level, on its way to around $60M.  THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT (Universal) and THE PIRATES!  BAND OF MISFITS (Sony) probably won’t get much past $30M.  THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate/Summit) still has the best Friday-to-Friday hold on the board, down only 26%, and should hit around $387M for the weekend–it’s still unlikely to reach $400M only because as more summer blockbusters come in, Games will continue to lose screens, but it could be close.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) had a very impressive expansion to 178 theatres, with what should be close to a $15K per-theatre average.  The same studio’s THE SOUND OF MY VOICE (Fox Searchlight) fared much less well, going to 46 theaters with an average that’s unlikely to get much beyond $1K.  WHERE DO WE GO NOW? (Sony Classics) shows little promise with around a $5K average at 3.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Can either BATTLESHIP (Universal) or THE DICTATOR (Paramount–opening Wednesday) muster the $50M or so it will likely take to keep The Avengers from a 3rd consecutive weekend win?  Don’t bet on it.  Meanwhile, WHAT DO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING (Lionsgate) will counterprogram nd go for the “chick flick” audience that hasn’thad anything new in a month

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."