September 23, 2012



This weekend’s boxoffice wasn’t so much a case of multiple winners as none at all.

OPENINGS:  The closest thing to a victor was END OF WATCH (Open Road), which did about what one might have expected with a projected $13M total and a $4800 per-theatre average.  Its 11% Friday-to-Saturday bump wasn’t much to speak of, though, and since it’s claiming the lowest Sunday decline of any of the top openings, its number may well slip when actual totals are reported tomorrow.  Its audience is likely to move on to Looper next weekend, making for a moderate final gross.  HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Relativity) is also claiming $13M for the weekend (with a mere $3100 per-theatre average).  That’s a disappointing number, 26% below the opening for The Possession just 3 weeks ago, despite having Jennifer Lawrence in the lead.  Even with a low budget and limited marketing, it’s going to be a break-even proposition at best.  The loser of the trio, though, is TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (Warners), which is only claiming a $12.7M weekend (and that’s with a 27% Saturday bump).  That’s hardly better than the $11.2M opening for Clint Eastwood’s flop J.Edgar last year, which was in 1250 fewer theatres and had a far less marketable story, not to mention of course lacking Clint’s presence in front of the camera.  Curve was the most expensive of the weekend’s openings, and although it may still end up the highest grossing in the US because of Eastwood’s older fans, it’s likely to do negligible business overseas.

DREDD (Lionsgate) is an out-and-out flop.  Lionsgate is desperately trying to assure listeners that the losses will fall elsewhere, but with a $6.3M opening (a number that may very well go lower, given the only 8% Saturday bump and the very low projected Sunday drop) and a $40M production cost (plus marketing), someone is taking the hit on this.

The decision to throw THE MASTER (Weinstein) into relatively wide release just a week after its launch played out as OK at best.  At 788 theaters, the film is claiming a $5M weekend (that number will probably start with a “4” tomorrow), for a good but not remarkable $6300 average.  It would be a shame if this unique film is played out in just a few weeks; for now, the bright spot is its very healthy 39% Saturday bump.

HOLDOVERS:  Thanks to an infusion of families on Saturday, FINDING NEMO 3D (Pixar/Disney) kept its 2d weekend drop down to 43%, still a disappointing result for a re-release that will have to make its profits abroad.  PARANORMAN (Focus/Universal) also benefited from parents needing something for their kids to see, and fell only 25% on its 6th weekend in theatres.  On the other end of the spectrum, RESIDENT EVIL:  RETRIBUTION (Screen Gems/Sony) plummeted 68%, the worst 2d weekend drop in the franchise’s history–but relatively meaningless if the series continues to make 80% of its boxoffice overseas. (It’s already made $103M internationally, with such big markets as the UK and Italy still to open.)   Other holdovers dropped 41%–THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN (Disney), which will cross $50M next week–to 55%–THE EXPENDABLES 2 (Lionsgate), with $85M in sight.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The one genuinely good piece of boxoffice news this weekend came from THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate), which got off to a terrific start with a $61K average in 4 theatres, and plenty of room in the release schedule to expand.  ARBITRAGE (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions) held very well, dropping only 36% (with the addition of 20% more theatres), and on its way to becoming the most successful film ever released simultaneously in theatres and on VOD.  SLEEPWALK WITH ME (IFC, also available on VOD) continues to find an audience, increasing its theatre count by 10% and dropping only 14% for the weekend.  10 YEARS (Anchor Bay) expanded to 43 theatres with a mild $1800 per-theatre average, and HELLO I MUST BE GOING (Oscilloscope) went to 15 theatres with a $1500 average.  The documentary DIANA VREELAND:  THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (Goldwyn) got off to a good start, with a $21K average at 3 theatres.

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."