April 29, 2012



Hold all tickets for 2d place.
OPENINGS:  As of now, THE PIRATES!  BAND OF MISFITS (Sony), THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT (Universal), THE LUCKY ONE (Warners) and THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate/Summit) are all projected to gross within a $243,000 range for the weekend, with Pirates on top with $11.4M and Engagement bringing up the rear with $11.16M.  When numbers are that close, even a tiny variation in Sunday’s boxoffice could change the rankings, so the true order won’t be known until actuals are released tomorrow.  The bragging rights (so to speak) for the weekend’s Place position, though, are less important than the fact that neither Pirates nor Engagement opened very well.  Pirates made even less than last year’s Aardman/Sony cartoon Arthur Christmas, which opened to $12.1M and only reached $46M in the US.  Engagement‘s opening is down 35% from 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, also directed by Nicholas Stoller and co-written with star Jason Segel.  Pirates cost twice as much but probably has more overseas appeal, so ultimately both may barely manage to break even.

Which is more than can be said for the weekend’s other openings.  With a $7.7M weekend, SAFE (Lionsgate/Summit) is Jason Statham’s 3rd-worst opening as a star and will probably be only his 2d starring vehicle not to reach $20M in the US.  Lionsgate is only on the hook for the movie’s marketing, but even that’s a far-away goal.  THE RAVEN (Relativity) did even worse, with a $7.3M opening that should kill, once and for all, the notion that audiences have any interest in seeing Edgar Allen Poe solve crimes.  It also might make John Cusack think about finding a good cable TV script.
THE HUNGER GAMES:  Down a remarkably tiny 23% in its 6th weekend.  That’s the 14th best Weekend 6 of all time, and the 3rd best of the past decade, behind only Avatar and The Blind Side–and the latter barely counts, since its 6th weekend in release was also Christmas weekend.  At $372.5M, The Hunger Games is now the 17th highest grossing movie ever in the US, and should pass Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 by this time next week.  (The one goal that seems unlikely is a $400M domestic gross.)  Oh, and its overseas business is up to $228.5M, bringing the worldwide total to a tidy $601M. 
HOLDOVERS:  Thanks in part to the weak new openings, THINK LIKE A MAN (Screen Gems/Sony) had an excellent 2d weekend drop of only 47%, better than all but one Tyler Perry movie (the first Why Did I Get Married?) has ever done.  THE LUCKY ONE, on the other hand, was unimpressive with a 49% fall, not holding up as well as recent soaps like The Vow, Dear John, Letters to Juliet or The Last Song.  With its 49% drop, CHIMPANZEE (Disney), at $19M to date, has already outgrossed the total boxoffice of its preecessors Oceans and African CatsTHE THREE STOOGES (20th), THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (Lionsgate/Summit) and AMERICAN REUNION (Universal) all fell around 45%, while 21 JUMP STREET (Sony) continued to hold beautifully (down only 35% in Weekend 7) and TITANIC 3D (Paramount) plummeted again, down 62% and unlikely to get beyond a $60M total (although that’s far more than made up for by the 3D transfer’s overseas business).
LIMITED RELEASES:  BERNIE (Millenium) was the star of the weekend, with a terrific $30K per-theatre average in 3 (boosted in part by Q&As).  SOUND OF MY VOICE (Fox Searchlight) fared less well with an $8K average in 5.  The tricky (and very bloody) thriller HEADHUNTERS (Magnolia) had a strong start with a $10K average in 4.  MONSIEUR LAZHAR (Music Box) expanded well, doubling to 66 theatres with a $3800 average. The extremely quirky charms of DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Sony Classics), though, aren’t traveling well, as it spread by 11 theatres to 57 and only had a $1600 average.  DARLING COMPANION (Sony Classics) quadrupled its theatres to 17 and held an OK per-theatre average of $4200. 

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."