September 17, 2011

THE BIJOU: Early Friday Boxoffice – 9/16/11

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The Hollywood Reporter has early Friday numbers, and they foretell some surprises for the weekend boxoffice.  Chief among them is the remarkable $7-8M that the 3D pre-Blu-Ray reissue of Disney’s THE LION KING grossed on Friday alone, which should mean a weekend of close to $24M, far above expectations.  The combination of nostalgia and the lack of any major family attraction since The Smurfs opened on July 29 seems to have done wonders for this 1994 film.  The 2d slot for the weekend appears to belong to last week’s #1 picture CONTAGION, which looks to have a very strong hold with only around a 40% decline for a $13M weekend.
The news is less good for the newcomers.  DRIVE is faring best, with a $10-11M weekend that would be just a bit below expectations–however, what has to be worrisome is that audience reaction seems to be deeply split from the critical consensus, with only a C- score in exit polls compared to the film’s 93% Rotten Tomatoes score.  That suggests awful word of mouth that may drag the picture down over the course of the weekend.
THE HELP, no surprise at this point, should have another great hold, with only a 25% drop from last weekend to $6.7M.  But STRAW DOGS and I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT seem to both be headed directly for the trash-heap, with weekend grosses around $5M, substantially less than even the low projections.  I Don’t Know at least scored better in the exit polls, with a still-tepid B-, and with its female audience may stick around for a week or two, while the ghost of Sam Peckinpah rejoices as Straw Dogs could manage only a C, and probably would have been better off going directly to VOD (or better yet, not being made at all).
Check out Mitch Metcalf’s Weekend Projections, and stay with SHOWBUZZDAILY all weekend for updated numbers and analysis.

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."