September 25, 2011

THE BIJOU: Boxoffice Footnotes – 9/25/11


No doubt the enormous success of THE LION KING hasn’t been lost on anyone at Disney, and we can expect to see 3D reissues of more classic animation over the next few years, leading into yet more homevideo editions.
If not for Lion King being in the market, DOLPHIN TALE would almost certainly have won the weekend, so Warners’ decision to stick with its opening date (because it was the same week they’d released Legend of the Guardians last year?) may have been misguided.  Dolphin gets one more weekend (which one has to assume it’ll have to share with Lion King again, since it’s hard to believe Disney will really pull that from the market as planned), then it’ll have to face Real Steel for the family audience.

MONEYBALL didn’t quite get to Social Network‘s $22M opening, even though Brad Pitt is an infinitely bigger star than Jesse Eisenberg.  The baseball subject matter may have turned off some potential audiences (although one wouldn’t have thought the corporate infighting at Facebook would pack them in), and although Moneyball got rave reviews, they didn’t quite have the “this is an instant Best Picture frontrunner and you have to see it” vibe.  It’s going to face competition quickly, from 50/50 next weekend and then Ides of March, so we’ll see how it holds up.
ABDUCTION does seem to have made it to $11M (pending actuals tomorrow), for whatever that’s worth to the Lautner team.  KILLER ELITE will make whatever real money it’s going to make overseas.  
Although DRIVE had the best hold of last week’s openings, a virtual 50% drop for a film with 92% on Rotten Tomatoes is disappointing, reinforcing the fact that audience response was not in line with the critical acclaim–not a shock, since Drive‘s limitation is that it seems to have been made for film critics.
In limited release, MY AFTERNOONS WITH MARGUERITTE expanded from 2 theatres to 27 and did a not-much $2700 per theatre, while Gus Van Sant’s RESTLESS went disastrously from 5 to 17, with barely $1K in each.  MACHINE GUN PREACHER premiered with a good $11K in each of 4 theatres, but until Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan stop doing Q&As, we won’t know the movie’s real strength.  PUNCTURE, which also had some Q&As for opening weekend, pulled a decent $9K in each of 4.  Most impressive, though, was the gay romance WEEKEND, which got stellar reviews in NY and made $25K in one small theatre there; it arrives in LA next week.

Also opening are the excellent 50/50 (read our review) the mediocre DREAM HOUSE, and WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?, which has the likable Anna Faris but a very generic looking trailer.  And the curiosity of the week will be MARGARET, which was shot 6 years ago as Kenneth Lonergan’s follow-up to You Can Count On Me and features Anna Paquin  (pre-True Blood) and Matt Damon, but was held out of circulation due to a dispute over the running time, which Fox Searchlight finally won (Lonergan’s cut ran over 3 hours; what’s being released is 2 1/2).


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."