March 11, 2012



John Carter traveled to Mars; the movie with his name also looks beyond the US for some help.
OPENINGS:  JOHN CARTER (Disney) may or may not have grossed over $30M this weekend–we’ll find out for sure tomorrow.  (Disney is claiming a not-unreasonable 31% Sunday drop, but it would take only a small slip to push the number below that threshold.)  The more important number, though, in terms of whether it’ll be remembered as a historic flop or a mere financial disappointment, is the $71M (which includes pre-Friday grosses in certain territories) being reported overseas.  $17M of that was from Russia alone, but apparently Europe was generally not strong.  On the other hand, the picture is doing well in Asia, and has yet to open in China and Japan.  If Carter can get to a global total of $300M, it won’t reach breakeven, but would avoid the embarrassment of a total failure.

A THOUSAND WORDS (Paramount), playing as a family comedy (which it really isn’t), also had a good Saturday, but that only got it to a pitiful $6.4M.  However, that did beat Meet Dave and Imagine This, so this studio, as well, dodged complete ignominy.  SILENT HOUSE held even on Saturday despite the dreadful CinemaScore grade and is claiming (for now) slightly over $7M for the weekend.
HOLDOVERSTHE LORAX (Universal) ended up with a Saturday that, while huge, wasn’t quite up to the initial report (an 80% bump rather than 100%), so it’s down 44% for the weekend, still extremely good.  More remarkably, PROJECT X (Warners) was almost in the same place with a 45% drop, excellent for a picture aiming at the teen-male demo.  SAFE HOUSE (Universal), THE VOW (Screen Gems/Sony) and THIS MEANS WAR (20th) continued to have very low drops in the low 30% range, while WANDERLUST (Universal) and GONE (Summit/Lionsgate) were heaved out of theatres as quickly as contracts allowed.
OSCAR WINNERSTHE ARTIST (Weinstein) is claiming a mediocre 37% drop that, as with last week, relies on an very high Sunday estimate (a drop of only 25%)–last weekend’s total was reduced on Monday, and the same may well happen tomorrow.  THE IRON LADY (Weinstein), with a more reasonable 35% estimated Sunday drop, is holding well, down only 31% for the weekend.  THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight) and HUGO (Paramount) are both on their way out of theatres.  A SEPARATION (Sony Classics) widened again to 281 theatres, and while it still dropped for the weekend as its per-theatre number fell, it’s at $4.8M, a superb total for a subtitled Iranian film.  
LIMITED RELEASES:  For an R-rated comedy, FRIENDS WITH KIDS (Roadside Attractions) had a terrific Saturday bump of 53%, suggesting very strong word of mouth.  That pushed it to $2.2M in 374 theatres, with a per-theatre number that was below only The Lorax and John Carter in the top 20.  Roadside will widen the run next weekend to 600 theatres.  SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN (CBS) had a $13K average. but that was in only 18 theatres, which is only mildly promising.  FOOTNOTE (Sony Classics) and JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI (Magnolia) had strong NY openings, averaging over $20K per theatre each.  WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Oscilloscope) went from 40 to 60 theatres, and had a decent $2600 per-theatre average.  BEING FLYNN (Focus), though, tripled its theatre count to 12 and still fell for the weekend, as its per-theatre number collapsed.

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."