July 22, 2012



All boxoffice figures are unofficial until tomorrow, when the studios will once again admit that they’re in a business designed to make money.  However, numbers have made their way to the outside world, and it seems clear that as midsummer Saturdays go, yesterday was slower than usual, probably by a factor of 10-20% virtually across the board.  This presumably reflects audience concern over security issues in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, and both studios and theatre-owners will have to hope that it corrects over time.

OPENINGS:  THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warners) has been reported at $160-162M in preliminary estimates.  This is a very fine number, the 3rd largest opening in history behind The Avengers ($207M) and Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part 2 ($169M), and above the opening of The Dark Knight ($158M), making it the biggest 2D debut ever, and yet probably not as high as the film would otherwise have done.  (Although things could obviously have gone much worse, under the awful circumstances.)  Its reported 40% drop on Saturday is certainly not unprecedented for a movie whose Friday gross includes a big Thursday midnight number (it’s about what the Twilight movies have done, and better than Deathly Hallows 2), but it’s a considerably bigger fall than Avengers, The Hunger Games and Dark Knight had.  The question will be whether the generally excellent word of mouth will allow the film to make up lost ground over the next several weeks.  UPDATE:  Although international boxoffice numbers also won’t be available in full until tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter has Rises at $70M in only 9 territories (of the 17 where it’s opened) for the weekend, an extremely good number.  By way of comparison, The Amazing Spider-Man opened to $51M in 14 markets a few weeks ago, and in 2008, The Dark Knight started with $41M in 19 territories. 

HOLDOVERS:  As noted above, business was generally soft, and only 2 movies in the Top 10 had drops under 50%.  Among wide releases, BRAVE (Pixar/Disney) did best with a 47% decline.  The hardest hit were THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Sony), which was alarmingly down almost 70% from last weekend, and the violent crime drama SAVAGES (Universal), down about 65%.  Even TED (Universal), which had been stable at the boxoffice since it opened, fell around 55%.  As with Dark Knight, the studios will be hoping that the passage of time and a decrease in media attention on the Colorado massacre will bring audiences back to their multiplexes.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Even arthouse audiences weren’t exempt from the uncertainty gripping the marketplace this weekend, as MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal), which previously hadn’t dropped more than 18% in any weekend, fell by half this week.  In that context, Woody Allen’s TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics) looked like a champion, down only 40% despite losing 25% of its theatres; Allen’s fans are either braver or more determined than most.  BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Fox Searchlight) chose the wrong weekend to expand, dropping slightly despite increasing its theatre count by 50%, which gave it an OK $6K average for the weekend.  THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (Magnolia) had a good start, especially this weekend, with a $19K average at 3.

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."