September 15, 2012


OPENINGS:  Both RESIDENT EVIL:  RETRIBUTION (Screen Gems/Sony) and FINDING NEMO 3D (Pixar/Disney) are softer than expected.  Evil is likely to have a $21M weekend, which would be the lowest opening in the series since the 2002 original, while Nemo’s probable $17M will be far below The Lion King 3D‘s $30.2M and barely even with Beauty & the Beast 3D‘s $17.8M.  Neither of these results are crushing tragedies, though, since Evil will make the bulk of its money overseas, and every dollar Disney makes on Nemo is another dollar of profit.

Meanwhile, can we all get over being shocked that there’s a far-right wing, fundamentalist Christian audience out there?  The barely-in-the-Top-10 $690K Friday for LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE (Rocky Mountain), which will likely mean a $2M weekend (with a terrible $1500 per-theatre average) is being treated like it’s some kind of event, when it’s really the same core group going to see all of these movies.

HOLDOVERS:  With weak titles at the top of the chart, nothing in the Top 10 fell more than 41% from last Friday, and that was for last weekend’s flop THE WORDS (CBS)LAWLESS (Weinstein), THE BOURNE LEGACY (Universal) and THE CAMPAIGN (Warners) were down only around 25%, and PARANORMAN (Focus/Universal), missing the Top 10 by $6000, slipped just 19%.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE MASTER (Weinstein) may or may not hold up once audiences see what an unsparing art film it is, but it’s off to a spectacular start, with $48K per theatre (in 5 NY/LA houses) for Friday alone.  Exempting a few films that opened at palaces like the 6000-seat Radio City and/or had stage shows (and inflated ticket prices) with them, the film could be on track for over $150K per theatre over the weekend, which would be the highest per-theatre average ever.  Also notable:  ARBITRAGE (Lionsgate/Roadshow), despite being simultaneously available on VOD, is headed for a strong $10K per-theatre average in 197.  However, Josh Radnor’s LIBERAL ARTS (IFC) didn’t get the reviews it needed (and deserved), and will likely have a $9K average in only 4 theatres.  And even Channing Tatum’s name didn’t pull many into 10 YEARS (Anchor Bay), headed for an $8K average at 3.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Clint Eastwood’s first starring vehicle since 2008’s Gran Torino, TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (Warners) will provide the first wide release of substance in several weeks.  END OF WATCH (Open Road), a mostly found-footage cop movie with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena that didn’t make much impression at Toronto, will compete, along with 2 genre releases:  DREDD (Lionsgate), which was also at Toronto, and THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Relativity), which will clear Jennifer Lawrence’s decks of early-career embarrassments.  Another Toronto title, the well-received PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate) will head into limited release.


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."