June 10, 2012


Don’t look a gift boxoffice in the mouth?

OPENINGS:  Unsurprisingly, both studios pushed their estimates on MADAGASCAR 3 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) and PROMETHEUS (20th) to the highest round number available, meaning $60M and $50M, respectively.  In order to achieve those numbers, the 2 movies with the worst Friday-to-Saturday performance in the Top 10 will need to have the best Saturday-to-Sunday.  So… we’ll see tomorrow how that works out.  Overseas, which is more important for both big-budget pictures, Madagascar 3 was easily on top, with $76M in 28 territories, compared to Prometheus‘ $39M in 50 territories.  What has to be extremely troubling for Fox is that the Prometheus number indicates a terrible Week 2 drop in those markets where the movie opened last week, considering that in only 15 territories it had made $35M a week ago.  That, along with the 25% Friday-to-Saturday drop in the US (by far the worst Day 2 fall of any summer movie so far this year), suggests awful word of mouth for a movie that’s intended to launch a new franchise.

HOLDOVERS:  SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN (Universal) had a less than great 59% Weekend 2 drop in the US, and will struggle to get to $150M in the US. Overseas,, though, it held considerably better albeit at mid-level numbers, dropping around 40% while adding 7 territories (to a total of 52) for a $25M weekend.  MEN IN BLACK 3 (Sony) fell 52% in the US, on its way to what should be a $160-165M total, while overseas it dropped a similar 51%.  Since MIB3 is already in every major territory, it seems to be headed for a $425-450M overseas total, putting it on track for around a $600M worldwide gross–which would be terrific if it hadn’t cost $400M+ (with marketing) and carry huge back-end deals for the talent.  THE AVENGERS (Disney) is at just about $1.4B worldwide, and it hasn’t yet opened in Japan, which should get it past a billion and a half.  THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) again had the lowest drop of any movie in wide release (a tiny 28% decline), and although with a $2500 per-theatre average it doesn’t seem likely to expand much farther, it could get to $40M or more in the US, plus it’s already at a robust $83M overseas.  And an “odds-ever-in-your-favor” to THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate), which today passes the $400M mark in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) expanded to 96 theatres, and while its $16.5M per-theatre average is fine, it’s only about 13% of the film’s average when it was in 4 theatres.  It’s also around 50% higher than Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited‘s average in 95 theatres, and that picture only ended up making $12M.  (It’s also just slightly higher than the average Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had in almost twice as many theatres.)  The next couple of expansions will tell us if Moonrise has any potential to find a significantly wider audience.  BERNIE (Millenium) expanded its theatres by 10% to 330, and held at an OK $2500 average.  THE INTOUCHABLES (Weinstein) expanded its theatre count by 50% and went up around 20%, with a $5K average in 77.  The most promising newcomer was SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (FilmDistrict), with an $11K average in 9 theatres, including relatively unusual territories like Portland and Seattle (admittedly, it helped itself out with some cast Q&As).  LOLA VERSUS (Fox Searchlight) was less impressive with a $8500 average in 4 NY/LA theatres.  PEACE, LOVE AND MISUNDERSTANDING (IFC) had a slight $3500 average in 30.  DARK HORSE (IFC) rode a NY Times rave to $15K in 1 NY theatre.

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."