July 21, 2012



No authoritative boxoffice figures will be available until Sunday or Monday, as the studios would prefer that they not be associated with financial issues this weekend.   Although–properly–the focus of the stories on the senseless tragedy in Colorado has been on the madman who committed the actions, the studios are in a somewhat precarious position (knee-jerk blame the movies pieces have already stared to appear in the media, and the specter that is Stephen Baldwin has started to appear on camera), so they’ve decided discretion is their best posture for now.

OPENINGS:  The Friday opening for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warners) has been estimated at $74-77M, and whatever that number turns out to be, it’s clearly the case that audiences were not led by fear or panic in great numbers to shun a great work of popular art.  It appears that Rises will have the 3d largest opening day (and the highest ever for a 2D movie) in history, below only the $91.1M for the final Harry Potter and the $80.1M for The Avengers.  Those 2 movies had widely divergent weekend paths after opening day, as Potter was far more frontloaded than Avengers turned out to be (despite having a lower opening day, Avengers ended up with 60% higher total gross than Potter), so Rises could be anywhere from $140-$195M by Sunday night.  The one thing that seems clear is that it won’t (and wasn’t expected to) surpass Avengers‘ $207M record opening.

HOLDOVERS:  ICE AGE 4 (20th) is headed for a 50% drop to $23M in its 2d weekend, which is in line with the 2d weekend decline for Ice Age 2 (the last of the franchise to open on a Friday), but at a lower number, which will probably make this the least-successful (in the US, anyway) of the series.  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Sony) was heavily hit by the arrival of Dark Night Rises, and is likely to fall 65% for the weekend, putting it on pace for a final US gross of $260M or so that will be considerably behind anything in the previous Spider-Man trilogy (the lowest of the Sam Raimi movies earned $337M) despite 3D ticket premiums–it’s still a successful reboot of the series, but somewhat softer than might have been expected.

TED (Universal) had its first heavy decline, falling over 50%, but will still end up over $200M.  BRAVE (Pixar/Disney) will be the biggest animated film of the season, slipping only around 40% to a total of $210M with plenty of boxoffice left, while MADAGASCAR 3 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) will finish at around that number.  MAGIC MIKE (Warners) should slip about 50% and hit $100M, but SAVAGES (Universal) plunged by 60% and may struggle to reach a $50M total.

LIMITED RELEASES:  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) had a much sharper decline than it had suffered thus far, down almost 50% and with a per-theatre average around $2K, and seems like it will end up with a very good $40M total or so.  TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics), despite losing 25% of its theatres, should fall only around 35% with about a $3K average, and should exceed $15M in the end, a strong number for Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris aside).  BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Fox Searchlight) expanded to 129 theatres and should have an OK $6K average (as a point of comparison, last year’s The Tree of Life had a $10K average in 114 theatres, and only ended up with a $13M total gross).  The only notable opening was THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (Magnolia), and the documentary should do a nice $20K average in 3 theatres.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The excellent indie RUBY SPARKS (Fox Searchlight) arrives on Wednesday in limited release.  On Friday, the 2 major openings are THE WATCH (20th), the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn/Jonah Hill vehicle that’s had its own marketing issues, and STEP UP REVOLUTION (Summit), about which little needs to be said.

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."