May 13, 2012





THE AVENGERS:  Simply spectacular.  The 50% drop in Weekend 2 ripped past the $75M record to an amazing $103M.  The level of the weekly decline isn’t unprecedented (Avatar dropped an insane 2%, Shrek 2 33%, the original Spider-Man 38%, Alice In Wonderland and Toy Story 3 46% each), but it’s better than the falls for The Dark Knight (53%), Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (54%), The Hunger Games and Spider-Man 3 (both 62%).  Avengers is on track to become the 2d or 3rd highest domestic grosser ever, depending on whether it can beat Titanic‘s $658M.


Avengers also made another $95M overseas, giving it a $629M total outside the domestic market.  That puts it over $1 billion after 10 days of release in the US and 17 days in most international territories, which means it should pass the final Harry Potter‘s $1.3B total to become the highest grossing film in history not directed by James Cameron.  (So much for Joss Whedon being a “cult” director…)

 OPENINGSDARK SHADOWS (Warners) couldn’t begin to cope with that kind of competition, and even its $28.8M estimate seems high (the studio is assuming a better Sunday hold than Disney’s estimate for Avengers).  Assuming the number holds, that’s still a blah start (less than John Carter‘s much-ridiculed $30M opening) for a movie that cost $250M with worldwide marketing.  Shadows also grossed around $37M in 42 territories overseas, not a great number.  It’s likely to see ink as red as Barnabas Collins’ beverage of choice.  GIRL IN PROGRESS (Lionsgate/Summit) opened at only 322 theatres, and had an OK $4200 per-theatre average.

HOLDOVERSTHE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight0 continues to play the counterprogramming card extremely well, expanding to 178 theatres with a $15K average.  Generally, the holdover business was quite strong, with nothing in the Top 10 dropping more than 42%–that’s THE PIRATES!  BAND OF MISFITS (Sony)–and most declines considerably less.  Even with all the new competition in the market, THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate/Summit) is down only 21%, with a shot of reaching $400M if it can hold on to its screens.

LIMITED RELEASE:  BERNIE (Millenium) expanded to 36 theatres and emerged with an OK $6K per-theatre average.  Searchlight’s THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, though, had only a $1200 average after expanding to 46 theatres.  Sony ClassicsDARLING COMPANION and DAMSELS IN DISTRESS are both dropping fast, neither likely to reach $1M in total boxoffice. The same studio’s WHERE DO WE GO NOW? is off to an unpromising start with a $1900 average at 3 theatres.

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."