September 2, 2012



OPENINGS:  THE POSSESSION (Lionsgate) is doing quite well for a low-budget horror quickie, with $17.7M for the 1st 3 days of the holiday weekend, and is on track to be the #2 Labor Day opening ever, behind only the 2007 remake of HalloweenLAWLESS (Weinstein Company), though, at $9.7M, is behind last year’s The Debt and considerably below The American from 2 years ago.  OOGIELOVES IN THE BIG BALLOON ADVENTURE (Visselman) has achieved its own little piece of immortality, with the worst opening ever for a movie playing at over 2000 theatres.

HOLDOVERS:  THE EXPENDABLES 2 (Lionsgate) has the lead among older titles, but it also had the biggest cosmetic drop in the Top 10 with 34%.  (Overseas, it seems to be heading for a total of about $125M, which would be down a significant 25% from its predecessor.)  However, the weekend’s real loser by far was 2016:  OBAMA’S AMERICA (Rocky Mountain), which masked its plummet by adding 650 screens but saw its per-theatre number nosedive 51% from last week.  Everything else in the market, helped by the holiday and weak new titles, fell under 30% for the weekend, except last week’s openings PREMIUM RUSH (Sony) and HIT & RUN (Open Road), which fell 35% and 42%, respectively.  THE BOURNE LEGACY (Universal) is holding well, and should get to $110M or so in the US, but it doesn’t look to be overperforming internationally, and with a $125M budget, it badly needed that to keep the franchise going.  TED (Universal), on the other hand, is already at $168M overseas with 40% of the world still to open.

A couple of long-running milestones this weekend:  THE AVENGERS (Disney) hit $1.5B worldwide (behind only James Cameron’s pair of epics), and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warners) reached $1B (specifically $1.005B).  In the case of Rises, that’s a double milestone, as it also puts this year’s installment ahead of Dark Knight‘s $1.003B, with some gas still left in the tank, thanks especially to a $28.5M China opening this week.  Rises is at #12 on the all-time list worldwide, and still has a chance to rise as high as #7.  Also worth noting:  on the same weekend that Rises grossed $28.5M in China, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Sony), thanks to 3D ticket prices, made $33.3M, underscoring what a giant market China is becoming for movies.

LIMITED RELEASE:  Not a lot going on this weekend.  FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… (Focus/Universal), with very limited support from its studio, had a $6100 average in 23 theatres.  SAMSARA (Oscilloscope), boosted by its 70mm format, averaged $12.5K in 9 theatres.  CELESTE & JESSE FOREVER (Sony Classics) leaped off the diving board into 586 theatres and only found a per-theatre average of $1200.  ROBOT & FRANK (Goldwyn) took things much more slowly and had a $4800 average at 144.  SLEEPWALK WITH ME (IFC) held very nicely, with an $11.4K average at 29 (it’s also available on VOD).

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."