June 24, 2012



OPENINGS:  BRAVE (Pixar/Disney) opened right in the Pixar range at $66.7M.  That’s better than WALL-E ($63.1M), not quite as good as Up ($68.1M).  Those 2 movies ended up with $224M and $293M, respectively, so the magnitude of Brave‘s success has yet to be determined.  The film is in only 10 overseas territories, where it grossed $13.5M for the weekend.

There’s little uncertainty about either of the other weekend openings.  ABRAHAM LINCOLN:  VAMPIRE HUNTER (20th) had a $16.5M start that only John Wilkes Booth could love, and even that number will require a Pixar-level Sunday retention at the boxoffice, which is far from certain.  The film also made $8.1M in 17 overseas markets, not very promising.  At a reported $70M production cost, don’t expect a sequel.  SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Focus/Universal) is a smaller but as complete a failure, with a $3.8M opening in 1625 theatres.  It was a movie that needed good reviews to grab a handhold, and didn’t get them.

HOLDOVERS:  Even with Brave in the market, MADAGASCAR 3 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) held beautifully with only a 41% drop to $20.2M.  It’s running ahead of both previous Madagascars by $20-30M in the US, and was #1 overseas this weekend for an international total so far of $208M in only 44 territories.  Even though the movie’s ending plays as the conclusion of a trilogy, no one will be surprised to see DreamWorks reach into its checkbook and generate another chapter.  PROMETHEUS (20th) took another 52% hit and seems unlikely to reach $130M in the US, but is doing better overseas, where it has a $153M total in 61 territories after a $12.7M weekend.  SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN (Universal) fell 40% to $8M, and also made $22.6M from 60 territories overseas, for a $160.4M international total that should get considerably higher.  MEN IN BLACK 3 (Sony) remains on track for $600-625M worldwide.  Last week’s flops ROCK OF AGES (Warners) and THAT’S MY BOY (Sony) dropped 45% and 41%, respectively, and may reach the $50M area–unfortunately, both cost $70M even without worldwide marketing, not to mention Adam Sandler’s expensive back-end deal.  (Ages is also flopping overseas, with $8.6M in 24 territories; Boy is just getting started internationally.)  One additional international note:  although US comedies tend to be hit-or-miss overseas, AMERICAN REUNION (Universal), which made an unremarkable $57M in the US, has grossed an unbelievable $175M outside this country–so if another movie in the series gets produced, that will be the reason why. The movies people have really enjoyed this year continue to draw audiences:  THE AVENGERS (Disney) down 21%, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (Fox Searchlight) down 29%, and after 14 weeks in theatres, THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate) down only 24%.  Avengers and Hunger Games, incidentally, are between them responsible for a full $1 billion, or about 20%, of 2012’s total US boxoffice to date.

LIMITED RELEASES:  Woody Allen’s TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics) got off to a lovely start, with a $76K average in 5 NY/LA theatres.  That’s in 2d place to the $100K average for Midnight In Paris among Allen’s releases, and if Rome can continue to do 75% of Paris‘s boxoffice, Sony Classics will be a very happy studio.  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) more than doubled its run to 395 houses, and saw its per-theatre average drop to $8600, suggesting that a truly wide release isn’t in the cards.  Still, the film should be a tidy success for Wes Anderson, allowing him to finance his next effort.  SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED (FilmDistrict) tripled to 129 theatres with an OK $3700 average.  YOUR SISTER’S SISTER (IFC) went from 13 to 47 theatres with a decent $4600 average.

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."