May 27, 2012




Don’t hold your breath for Men In Black 4.


OPENINGS:  The US 3-day weekend numbers on MEN IN BLACK 3 (Sony) are in accord with last night’s lackluster preliminary estimate of $55M.  Sony is predicting $70M for the full holiday weekend, which may be a stretch, as it would allow for only a 15% Monday fall–that’s conceivable, but a final number in the high $60Ms is more likely.  More important to the financial health of the film, reports are that the film made $132M over the weekend overseas.  That sounds like a big number–The Avengers had $185M in its first overseas weekend–but it gets less impressive when you dig into it.  MIB3 had an unusually wide 106-market opening, essentially putting it everywhere in the world at once (in comparison, The Avengers number covered only 39 territories), meaning that MIB3‘s boxoffice this weekend may be hugely frontloaded, much more so than international grosses typically are.  Weekend 2 will thus be crucial for the film not just in the US, but throughout the world, although even if the picture ends up with a worldwide total of $550-600M–which seems its absolute best-case scenario–that would only equal the original Men In Black, without 15 years of inflation (and 3D ticket prices) figured in.  (Worst-case scenario could be $100M or more lower.)  

Oh right, CHERNOBYL DIARIES (Warners) opened too.  Don’t bother remembering it, with an $8M 3-day opening, it’ll be gone in 2 weeks.

THE AVENGERS:  The one genuine mega-buster of the summer so far keeps marching on.  The 34% decline over the 3-day weekend is spectacular, and with Memorial Day added, it should be around $523M tomorrow.  That will put it in place to pass The Dark Knight’s $533M by the end of the week.  Worldwide, the picture has hit $1.3B, and in less than a week it will pass the final Harry Potter to become the 3rd biggest film of all time, behind only Avatar and Titanic both in the US and overseas.

HOLDOVERS:  Even with the holiday weekend boosting Sunday numbers, BATTLESHIP (Universal) will decline a dismal 58% in Weekend 2, on its way to only around $70M in total US boxoffice.  THE DICTATOR (Paramount) did better with a 45% 3-day slide, probably heading for a US total not far behind Battleship‘s, and if anyone was actually seeing WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING (Lionsgate), it would be a success story, with only a 32% weekend drop–unfortunately, it’s still heading for only about a $40M total.  In Weekend 3, DARK SHADOWS (Warners) had a 40% drop and may get to $80M or so.  In its fantastic 10th weekend, THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate), despite dropping 30% of its theatres, fell only 7%, and with the grim determination of Katniss Everdeen herself, it seems likely to pass $400M in US boxoffice (That’s still far less than The Avengers, but remember that it also only cost 1/3 as much to produce.)

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) expanded beyond limited release to 1233 theatres with a very solid $5150 per-theatre average.  In comparison, when Midnight In Paris went to 1038 theatres last summer, it had a $4700 average (on a non-holiday weekend).

LIMITED RELEASES:  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) had a fantastic $127K average in 4 theatres, just about doubling the previous best openings of  Wes Anderson’s career.  The challenge, of course, will be to translate that stupendous success beyond Anderson’s usual big-city territory.  THE INTOUCHABLES (Weinstein) also got off to a fine, if less overwhelming, start, with a $25K average in 4.  BERNIE (Millenium) doubled its run to 194 theatres with a good $4500 per-theatre average.   HYSTERIA (Sony Classics) also had a $4500 average, but that number is less impressive at only 32 theatres.  WHERE DO WE GO NOW? (Sony Classics) had a $2500 average at 25, and POLISSE (IFC) had a $3500 average at 14.

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."