August 4, 2012



In terms of percentage, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warners) should have about the same Weekend 3 drop that The Dark Knight did, but since it’s already below Dark Knight, the actual weekend number will be around 15% lower ($36M compared to $42M).  It’s now clear that Rises will–despite being a blockbuster hit to the tune of $450M or so–underperform The Dark Knight at the US boxoffice, for reasons that probably include the Aurora shootings and the lack of a unique event like Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker.  However, Dark Knight was an extreme rarity in the current global boxoffice as a giant action movie that was more successful domestically ($533M) than internationally ($469M).  With quite a bit of the world left to open, it’s so far unclear whether Rises can reverse that balance.

OPENINGS:  TOTAL RECALL (Sony) is almost certainly headed for red ink after an start that will be hard-pressed to beat the $25.5M opening of the original version of the picture 22 years ago.  Like John Carter and Battleship, it was an enormously expensive ($250M including marketing) spectacle with no pre-sold hook to draw an audience and no meaningful star power (and with a C+ Cinemascore, no likelihood of good word-of-mouth).  Sony took 3 giant risks this summer, none of them completely paying off:  The Amazing Spider-Man was a hit, but an underwhelming one,  Men In Black 3 probably a break-even proposition, and now Recall will have to pray for overseas success.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID:  DOG DAYS (20th) is as small as studio franchises get, in terms of both budget ($25M) and marketing.  The opening will be around $18-20M, about 10-20% below the other 2 entries, and since the series doesn’t have much of an overseas presence, it’ll look to homevideo for profit.

HOLDOVERS:  THE WATCH (20th) and STEP UP REVOLUTION (Summit) continue to sink, with Weekend 2 drops of 55% for one and 60% for the other likely.  Watch is in more dire shape, because it cost more than double what Step Up did (with far higher marketing costs), and has less promising overseas prospects.  TED (Universal) is holding brilliantly, down only 25% from last week, with ICE AGE 4 (20th), BRAVE (Pixar/Disney) and Amazing Spider-Man down about 35-40%.

LIMITED RELEASECELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER (Sony Classics) had a terrific opening that could mean a $30K per-theatre weekend average at 6–but last night’s numbers were boosted by celebrity Q&As, so we’ll see how it holds up over the next couple of days.  BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Fox Searchlight) held pretty well after a 50% expansion to 318 theatres, with around a $4K average.  RUBY SPARKS (Fox Searchlight) went to 64 theatres with an OK $6K average.  Meanwhile, MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) keeps making money, down only 10% despite losing 20% of its theatres, and likely to hit around $41M by the end of the weekend (about $4M below THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL).  THE INTOUCHABLES (Weinstein) is remarkably poised to increase this weekend despite not adding any theatres (although its $3K average at 194 still isn’t tremendous), and it’s quietly topped $5M in US boxoffice.  TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics) is shedding theatres, but will total well over $15M, making it Woody Allen’s 4th biggest hit of his last dozen films.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The studios make their last big push before relaxing for the rest of the summer.  THE BOURNE LEGACY (Universal) will probably end the reign of Dark Knight Rises at #1, although without Matt Damon it’s unlikely to get anywhere near the $69.2M opening of Bourne Supremacy.  THE CAMPAIGN (Warners), with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis will go after the R-rated comedy audience now that Ted is subsiding.  And HOPE SPRINGS (Sony), with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, is aimed at the older audience that nurtured The Help, Julie & Julia and Mamma Mia! in the past few late summers.

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."