October 1, 2012


Audiences decide they want to see movies again.

OPENINGS:  With the market starved for family entertainment (the last major animated opening was Ice Age 4 back in July), HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (Sony) and its $43M smashed the September opening record and the Sony Animations record, and comes in just behind Shark Tale as the biggest animated opening ever in the August-October window.  LOOPER (TriStar/Sony/FilmDistrict) , aimed at a complimentary demo, also found its audience, hitting $21.2M, and with a very solid 29% Saturday bump indicating good word of mouth.  PITCH PERFECT (Universal) had exactly the sampling the studio wanted with $5.2M from its 1-week 335-theatre platform run.  It earned an excellent $15.5K per-theatre average, and is well placed to do battle next weekend with Taken 2 and Frankenweenie.  The only discordant note was from NEVER BACK DOWN (20th) , which had a pathetic $1100 average for a $2.7M opening, and will sadly serve to further discourage studios from backing movies featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis or serious contemporary issues.

HOLDOVERS:  Even with the strength of the new arrivals, the 2nd weekend titles held quite well.  END OF WATCH (Open Road), TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (Warners) and HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Relativity) fell only 38-42% from last weekend, for $7.2-8M.  (That End of Watch number will bear scrutiny when final numbers are released tomorrow, however, as it’s currently claiming a much smaller Sunday drop than the other two.)  It’s a particularly nice hold for Street, which is in a genre that normally collapses after opening weekend.  THE MASTER (Weinstein) also fell 38%, but given its 856-theatre run (with 68 added this weekend) and rave reviews, it’s a less impressive result, as the picture appears headed for $15M total.  A couple of international notes:  the soft domestic boxoffice for RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION (Screen Gems/Sony)–it will be the lowest-grossing since the original Evil 10 years ago–has been discounted because the franchise makes all its money overseas, but it’s currently at $136M outside the US, seemingly headed for $175M, and that would be a big decline from the $236M earned overseas by the last installment.  On a happier note, ICE AGE 4 (20th) reached $694M overseas, the highest gross of any animated film in history outside the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (Summit/Lionsgate) is still looking promising with an expansion to 102 theatres.  But it’s still a long way from wide release, and its $11.2K per-theatre average dipped steeply from what it made last weekend in only 4 theatres.  ARBITRAGE (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions) is holding beautifully, down only 22% from last weekend while simultaneously the #2 movie on iTunes, behind only The Avengers.



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."