February 18, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem


Just try to imagine the number of terrible pitches being made to Channing Tatum’s and Rachel McAdams’ agents right now. (And not being made to Reese Witherspoon’s, Chris Pine’s and Tom Hardy’s.)
OPENINGS: GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (Sony) won’t be in 2d place for very long this weekend, with Safe House and even Journey 2 (because of its potent matinee power) in line to displace it. As it is, Rider‘s Friday number was down 55% from the opening day of the first Ghost Rider 5 years ago, and probably won’t be much over $23M over the 4-day holiday weekend. Another lousy action movie that will hope to make money overseas… And thinking of “lousy,” say hello to THIS MEANS WAR (20th), which will be lucky to hit $20M over the holiday weekend in what will probably be a 5th place finish. THE SECRET WORLD OF ARRIETTY (Disney) wasn’t expected to do much in a relatively small (1500 theatre) opening, and it delivered pretty much on target.

HOLDOVERS: THE VOW (Screen Gems/Sony) held on to 1st place despite the new competition, and with no new romances on the horizon for weeks (the Aniston-censored Wanderlust is much more comedy than romance), it should print stacks of money. SAFE HOUSE (Universal) may be hurt by next week’s arrival of Act of Valor, but still has a better-than-even chance of becoming the 2d highest grosser of Denzel Washington’s career. JOURNEY 2 (Warners) is holding even better than the other 2, down only 32% from last Friday, and it has another free week ahead of it before The Lorax shows up to inherit the family crowd. CHRONICLE (20th), THE WOMAN IN BLACK (CBS) and THE GREY (Open Road) also had very nice holds–in fact, the only recent holdover to get pulverized in its 2d weekend was the re-released 3D STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (20th), which turned out to be hugely frontloaded, and may not get much higher than $50M in total (its fairly wide international release–including most of Europe, but not India, Japan or China–wasn’t too exciting either, with only $20M earned last weekend).
OSCAR NOMINEES: THE ARTIST (Weinstein), THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight) and HUGO (Paramount) continue to hold well, although none of them will make more than a couple of million this weekend. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Warners) is pretty much done and is unlikely to go over $32M in total.
LIMITED RELEASES: Nothing much to speak of. Best Documentary nominee UNDEFEATED (Weinstein) and Foreign Film nominee BULLHEAD (Drafthouse) are both headed for around a $6K average in 5 theatres. And THIN ICE (IDP), a darkly comic caper movie with Greg Kinnear that played at Sundance in 2011, may get to a $4K average in 59.
Next week, the major openings are the semi-real-life Navy Seals adventure ACT OF VALOR (Relativity), Universal’s WANDERLUST (or the portion of it Jennifer Aniston allowed to be released), and a pair from the newly merged Lionsgate/Summit: serial killer thriller GONE with Amanda Seyfried, and the latest Tyler Perry opus, GOOD DEEDS.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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."