February 5, 2012



Happy Voice/Smash Bowl, everyone!  (And go Giants!!!)
OPENINGS:  CHRONICLE (20th) is claiming bragging rights for the weekend over THE WOMAN IN BLACK (CBS) by $1M.  But both films are assuming almost identical Super Bowl Sunday drops (69% and 67%, respectively), so the win will depend on whether one or the other faces more audience defection today, which we won’t know until Monday.  In any case, this is–sorry–a super weekend for both studios (especially CBS Films, with its first real hit), each one’s low-budget project now destined for profit.  On the other hand, even to reach its modest $8.5M estimate, BIG MIRACLE (Universal) will have to hit a very low 41% assumption for the Super Sunday drop.  This is based, no doubt, on the idea that kids will still go to matinees today, but since those kids will largely need parents to go with them, we’ll see if the estimate holds.

HOLDOVERS:  THE GREY (Open Road) leads the way with a 52% drop to $9.5M.  The picture won’t hit the highs of Neeson’s previous action hits Taken ($140M) or Unknown ($64M), but considering its harder-to-sell genre, it’s a nice success.  After that, UNDERWORLD AWAKENING (Screen Gems/Sony), ONE FOR THE MONEY (Lionsgate/Summit) and RED TAILS (20th/Lucasfilm) are all grouped together with 50+% drops and weekend grosses of $5-5.6M.  MAN ON A LEDGE (Summit/Lionsgate), with a 44% drop that’s the best among non-Oscar movies this weekend, will have to hope its good word of mouth translates into VOD and homevideo sales; it’s too late for the theatrical boxoffice to mean much.  THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Sony) is hovering at $99.9M and will hit its milestone Monday or Tuesday.  Other holiday pictures are shedding theatres as new openings arrive in the market, and won’t get much higher than they are now.
OSCAR NOMINEESTHE ARTIST (Weinstein) purportedly has the best hold with a 22% drop, but since it significantly increased its theatre count, the decline is more like 30%.  THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight), playing at 1500 more theatres than Artist, held very well with only a 28% drop for the weekend.  EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (Warners) was less impressive with a 44% decline.  HUGO (Paramount) has gotten a bit of a second wind, with only an 8% fall from last weekend (even adjusting for a small theatre expansion, it’s down less than 15%).  THE IRON LADY (Weinstein) is slowing down, but $25-30M in the US for a biography of Margaret Thatcher ain’t bad (and of course it would be boosted by a Meryl Streep win).
LIMITED RELEASES:  Madonna’s W.E. (Weinstein), timed to coincide with its director’s halftime show and new album, showed little promise with a $11K per-theatre gross in 4 palaces.  The nomination-less A DANGEROUS METHOD (Sony Classics) lost a third of its theatres, but should still get above $5M, not bad for such esoteric subject matter.  ALBERT NOBBS (Roadside) is having a pretty good hold, down 22% at 245 theatres.  A SEPARATION (Sony Classics) is finding an audience, a 29% increase in theatre count (to 40) almost matched by a 22% weekend increase in gross. PINA (IFC) and WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Oscilloscope) are both holding fairly well, with $5K averages in 40 and 13 theatres, respectively.  PARIAH (Focus), though, added 30% more theatres (to 19) but was down 20% for the weekend anyway.

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."