March 17, 2012



Maybe JOHN CARTER should have starred Jonah Hill.
OPENINGS21 JUMP STREET (Sony) got off to a great start, with a $13.1M Friday that should get it to around $35M for the weekend.  Expect a quick announcement that a sequel script is in development.  Although the movie’s success is of course great for Hill, probably the biggest winner is Channing Tatum, his credentials already established in action with G.I. Joe and in soaps with The Vow, who is setting himself up as an old-fashioned all-quadrant movie star.

Two offbeat comedies had less success with semi-wide openings.  The Spanish-language Will Ferrell spoof CASA DE MI PADRE (Pantelion/Lionsgate) at 382 haciendas, is headed for perhaps $2.5M, a blah per-theatre average of $6-7K.  JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME (Paramount Vantage), despite some good reviews and the presence of Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon, opened at 254 residences and probably won’t even get to $1M for the weekend, with a $3K theatre average that will send it straight to oblivion.
HOLDOVERS:  Any hopes that JOHN CARTER (Disney) could develop some “it’s not that bad” word-of-mouth and hold in its second weekend were dashed, as it’s heading for a Weekend 2 drop of over 50%.  Now all Disney can do is hang on to its international grosses for dear life and start looking toward The Avengers (which it’s distributing under the “Marvel” tag, per its deal with Paramount).  FRIENDS WITH KIDS (Roadside Attractions) had a surprisingly disastrous expansion, increasing its theatre count by 75% but falling on Friday by 25%, suggesting that the broadened run was under-marketed or the movie had terrible word of mouth (or both).  Thinking of terrible word of mouth, SILENT HOUSE (Open Road) cratered and will plummet 65% in Weekend 2.  A THOUSAND WORDS (Paramount) actually had the best hold among last week’s arrivals, down around 40% for the weekend, but the movie is still an awful flop that won’t gross much more than $20M.
THE LORAX (Universal) remains king of the longer runs and will come in 2d for the weekend with a school-holiday-aided drop of less than 40%.  The audience for PROJECT X (Warners) was swallowed up by 21 Jump Street, and it fell steeply.  Stalwarts SAFE HOUSE (Universal), THE VOW (Screen Gems/Sony) and THIS MEANS WAR (20th) all declined steadily, but THE ARTIST (Weinstein) continued its path of audience rejection by falling another 50%, on its way to a final US total that may not reach $45M.
LIMITED RELEASESSALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN (CBS) had a decent expansion to 62 theatres that should get it to around a $6K per-theatre average.  BEING FLYNN (Focus), though, fell apart when it expanded to 88 theatres, with a per-theatre that won’t reach $2K.  The much-acclaimed French film KID ON A BIKE (IFC), after a worldwide tour of film festivals, began its theatrical run in 3 theatres, with an underwhelming $15K average.
NEXT WEEKEND:  You can tell THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate/Summit) is poised to be a blockbuster by the opportunistic political attacks already being aimed in its direction.

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."