June 16, 2012



Friday’s boxoffice was like The Good, The Bad & The Ugly–except without the “good.”

OPENINGS:  All the stunt casting in the world couldn’t make anyone want to see ROCK OF AGES (Warners).  The anemic $5.4M opening day was low even by the standards of Broadway adaptations, and there’s no reason to expect a lift from word of mouth, nor overperformance internationally (unlike Mamma Mia, which with its ABBA song score was a blockbuster overseas).  Tom Cruise may want to reconsider that Les Grossman Tropic Thunder spin-off comedy, because audiences seem interested only in seeing him with a gun in his hand.

Although actresses certainly have it worse, aging also hits broad physical comedy stars hard–people just aren’t amused by watching middle-aged men in their 40s and 50s throw themselves around like 25-year old idiots.  Smart performers like Woody Allen and Steve Martin adjust their careers; others like Jim Carrey flounder.  Adam Sandler, now 45 years old, seems to have hit that point, with THAT’S MY BOY (Sony) underlining the flop of last year’s Jack & JillBoy is going to make J&J look like a smash hit by comparison, with probably the lowest opening weekend of Sandler’s starring vehicle career (not counting atypical projects like Spanglish) since its earliest days.  Suddenly next year’s Grown-Ups 2 is going to serve as a referendum on Sandler’s prospects as an aging leading man.

HOLDOVERSMADAGASCAR 3 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) held well, with a 52% Friday-to-Friday drop that was equivalent to the 2d Friday for Madagascar 2.  As a family movie, it should also benefit from Fathers Day crowds on Sunday, and may go down less than 45% for the weekend.  The R-rated PROMETHEUS (20th) probably won’t be so lucky, and its awful 73% Friday-to-Friday drop should translate into a fall of over 60% for the weekend, damaging its chances of launching a new Alien-spinoff franchise for the studio.

SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN (Universal) is falling less steeply this weekend than last, probably in the neighborhood of 45%, while MEN IN BLACK 3 (Sony) is holding extremely well, heading for only a 30-35% drop in Weekend 4.  THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) has probably peaked, with a weekend per-theatre average that may not reach $2K, but it’s still falling slowly, down around 35% for the weekend.  The year’s 2 blockbusters have the weekend’s best holds, with THE AVENGERS (Disney) likely to be down around 30%, and THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate), in its 13th week of release, astonishingly down less than 20% from last weekend.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The only new arrival of any note was YOUR SISTER’S SISTER (IFC), heading for an OK $9K average at 13 theatres.  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) almost doubled its run to 178 theatres, and its likely $12K per-theatre average will be the best in the Top 10–but it’s looking like the film’s final result will be good by Wes Anderson standards, as opposed to a genuine breakout number.  LOLA VERSUS (Fox Searchlight) shot up from 4 to 52 theatres, with dreadful effect:  its per-theatre average probably won’t even reach $1500.  (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED also expanded, but no numbers are available yet.)  BERNIE (Millenium) is reaching its end, with a $2K average in 300 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Pixar’s BRAVE (Disney) is the big opening, counterprogrammed by the R-rated ABRAHAM LINCOLN:  VAMPIRE HUNTER (20th), which is either being mis-marketed or is somehow not a comedy.  The offbeat SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Focus/Universal), with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, will open in a semi-wide 1400 theatre run.  Woody Allen will try to follow up the biggest hit of his career with TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics), starting off as his films usually do with a limited run.

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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."