September 17, 2011

THE BIJOU: Boxoffice Footnotes – 9/17/11


For all the wildly unexpected success of THE LION KING, Disney has limited boxoffice upside, because the new Blu-Ray hits the streets on October 4, and that’s not likely to be a date that can be changed.

The Friday number for DRIVE is right on the edge between meeting expectations and disappointing them; its C- Cinemascore suggests the balance is going to tilt the wrong way over the course of the weekend.
Screen Gems seems to have seen STRAW DOGS coming, as it’s been sitting on their shelf for quite a few months.  Straw was an ill-advised project in the first place, remaking a film that’s both critically esteemed and fairly obscure, and without any appreciable star value.  Scheduling it directly against the similar-appeal Drive was probably the death blow.  
I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT was Harvey Weinstein’s turn to learn that Sarah Jessica Parker has no boxoffice value outside the Sex and the City franchise.  Combine that with the fact that it’s a woeful piece of work, and you have a formula for flopping.  
CONTAGION held on surprisingly well in its second weekend, considering how genuinely disturbing it is to watch.  It wasn’t a cheap film to produce, however, so international revenues will still be key.  It’s hardly news that THE HELP continues to play like a champion; at this point, the question is how much DreamWorks will push it in awards season with mogul Spielberg’s own War Horse on the horizon.  WARRIOR is also having a decent hold in terms of percentage, but its opening was so low that it hardly matters.
In limited release, Sony Classics was unable to parlay the Toronto reception for RESTLESS into any business–the picture is heading for perhaps $4K in each of 6 theatres.  However, THE MILL AND THE CROSS received a rhapsodic NY Times review, and should make $10K in its Film Forum weekend there (don’t look for that one to do any crossover business, though).  
Next weekend, the interesting opening is MONEYBALL, which got deservedly excellent buzz out of Toronto and for which Brad Pitt is in the midst of a publicity spree.  Can that make the difference for a movie whose premise is hard to explain in a single sentence, let alone sell?  Also, Taylor Lautner will tackle his first solo starring project with ABDUCTION–will the Twilight fanatics show up in force for what looks like a Shia LaBouef retread?  And to return full circle, is Lion King a 1-weekend wonder, or will it dent the opening of DOLPHIN TALE?  We’ll know soon enough.

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."