May 26, 2012




J and K aren’t the only ones wearing black today.

OPENINGS:  In what’s starting to look like a bad summer for any movie not called The Avengers, MEN IN BLACK 3 (Sony) opened with a subpar $18M on Friday.  Sony is doing the only thing it can do, which is to point at the movie and say, like Tim Robbins in The Hudsucker Proxy, “You know–for kids!” while praying 10-year olds turn out today for a franchise whose last entry came out the year they were born.  Also dire:  the early numbers from Europe and Australia.  Meanwhile, there’s little interest in CHERNOBYL DIARIES (Warners), despite the studio’s intensive effort to turn it into a low-budget sleeper.

THE AVENGERS:  Yes, #2 for the weekend, but #1 in your hearts.  The next milestones, both of which should be coming in the next week or so, are toppling The Dark Knight as the #3 all-time US grosser ($533M), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 as the #3 all-time worldwide ($1.33B).  After that, it’s not clear if Avengers can make it to Titanic‘s $659M in the US, and it won’t reach that movie’s worldwide $2.2B.  Everyone:  awwww.

HOLDOVERS:  BATTLESHIP (Universal) just keeps getting uglier, with what would have been a 60% weekend drop cushioned by the Monday holiday.  THE DICTATOR (Paramount) is doing better, heading for a 50% Fri-Sun drop, and WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING (Lionsgate) is holding beautifully, down only around 30% over the 3-day weekend (but also not making much money).  THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) broke out of limited release to 1233 theatres, and its solid $5K Fri-Sun per-theatre average should be under only those for MIB3 and The AvengersTHE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate) presses on, down only about 30% over the Fri-Sun period despite losing that many of its theatres, and on a slow boat to $400M domestically.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Wes Anderson’s MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) is having a truly spectacular debut, with what looks to be a per-theatre average of $150K over the 3-day weekend (and perhaps close to $200K with Monday included).  The only caution before starting the parade is that it’s only at 4 NY/LA theatres, and Anderson is a big-city taste–but still, this is more than double Anderson’s previous high opening of $65K per theatre, and  Focus can only be thrilled with the numbers so far.  THE INTOUCHABLES (Weinstein) is less remarkable but still solid, with a likely $25K average at 4 over Fri-Sun ($30K likely for the 4-day weekend).

NEXT WEEKEND:  SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (Universal) should own the weekend, with the gift of MIB3‘s disappointing start and no new competition other than the Andy Garcia historical war vehicle FOR GREATER GLORY, aiming at a faith-based audience with a 700-theatre opening.


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."