January 28, 2012



Behold Liam Neeson, King of January.
OPENINGS:  THE GREY (Open Road) will easily take the weekend, albeit at a lower level than prior Neeson early-year thrillers.  Given that this one features killer wolves and hypothermia rather than gunfights and car chases, that’s not unexpected, and the picture should hit a decent profit.  ONE FOR THE MONEY (Lionsgate/Summit) may have outperformed pre-opening predictions, but its $11-12M opening is still pretty dismal (the lowest of Katherine Heigl’s starring career), and because of online discount ticket offers keyed to opening day, its Friday number may prove to be unusually frontloaded.  MAN ON A LEDGE (Summit/Lionsgate) is an out-and-out flop, and yet more proof that “stars” from special-effects-laden franchises can’t necessarily open movies outside those franchises.

HOLDOVERS:  Everything is headed for a 45-55% normal range drop, with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D (Disney) and MI4 (Paramount) on the low end, and HAYWIRE (Relativity) on the high.
OSCAR NOMINEES:  It was the week for the anointed films to expand their runs (except for Warners’ EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, which had opened wide last week and dropped only 30% in its 2d weekend).  None of the expansions were particularly impressive:  THE ARTIST (Weinstein), still in just 897 theatres, will barely top a $3500 per-theatre average, while THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight), upped to 2001 houses, won’t go much higher than a $3K average.   THE IRON LADY (Weinstein) is similarly unimpressive with a $2500 average at 1244, and HUGO (Paramount) didn’t find much interest in its expansion back to 965 theatres with a $2300 average.  Despite Gary Oldman’s Best Actor nomination, TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Focus) lost almost half of its theatres and could manage only a $2500 average at 410, and ALBERT NOBBS (Roadside) didn’t get much mileage out of its nominations for Glenn Close and Janet McTeer, expanding to 246 theatres for a $2800 average.
LIMITED RELEASES:  No major openings.  WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Oscilloscope), which couldn’t land a nomination for Tilda Swinton, added 3 theatres for a decent $6K average in 10, while PARIAH (Focus) lost a third of its theatres and won’t do much more than a $3K average in 14.
Next weekend is the Super Bowl, traditionally a weak moviegoing weekend, so the pickings will be lean.  Fox will pursue teens with the “found footage” sci-fi CHRONICLE, Universal targets kids with the save-the-whaler BIG MIRACLE, and CBS Films will try to gather what’s left with the old-fashioned ghost story WOMAN IN BLACK, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

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."