March 4, 2012



Now the only question is when they announce the start of  pre-production on LORAX 2.
OPENINGS:  It turned out THE LORAX (Universal) wasn’t frontloaded at all.  Quite the contrary, its 80% Saturday bump put the movie through the roof, a triumph of great marketing over cruddy filmmaking.  Lorax is currently the 3d highest March opening ever, but only $185K behind 300 at #2, so even a slight overperformance on Sunday could lift it up.  PROJECT X (Warners) slipped a bit on Saturday, but even if its Sunday is overestimated, it should still be safely over $20M for the weekend, a very good score for a relatively low-budget studio release.  (The result, unfortunately, will be more lousy “found-footage” movies.)

HOLDOVERS:  Thanks to a nice spread of genres in the Top 10, most of the older movies are holding quite well.  The only 3 movies in the Top 12 to dip more than 45% were JOURNEY 2 (Warners), which was direct competition for Lorax, GOOD DEEDS (Lionsgate/Summit) with a 55% drop that was in keeping with Tyler Perry’s pictures, and GHOST RIDER 2 (Sony), which was already mid-collapse.  Particularly notable were the tiny respective drops for SAFE HOUSE (Universal) – 34%, THIS MEANS WAR (20th) – 33%, and the (deservedly) much-maligned GONE (Summit/Lionsgate) – 36%.
OSCAR WINNERSTHE ARTIST (Weinstein), the 2d least popular Best Picture winner of the last quarter-century (and the lowest among films still in theatrical release when the awards were given out) raised its post-awards theatre count by 80% and could only manage a 34% bump.  And even that number is shaky, because Artist is claiming by far the lowest Sunday decline of the weekend’s top movies, so it may well slipi down (and fall out of the Top 10) tomorrow.  Similarly, its stablemate THE IRON LADY (Weinstein) is claiming a 30% weekend increase that relies on a tiny estimated Sunday drop.  Back in the non-Weinstein world, THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight) lost many of its theatres and fell 36%, and HUGO (Paramount) dropped 14%.  A SEPARATION (Sony Classics) tripled its theatres off its Foreign Language Film win, and gratifyingly went over the $1M mark for the weekend in 243 houses.  
LIMITED RELEASES:  BEING FLYNN (Focus) created little excitement with a $11K average at only 4 theatres, and TIM & ERIC’S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE (Magnolia) could only get to a $4K average in 24.    IN DARKNESS (Sony Classics) lost the Foreign-Language Oscar but tried increasing its theatre count by 50% anyway–the result was a 17% drop for the weekend.  WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Oscilloscope), another picture that was hoping for Oscar love it didn’t get, more than doubled its theatres to 40, and averaged a decent $3300.  

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."