August 20, 2011


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Deadline has a clearer picture of the day’s boxoffice, and THE HELP is already having a superb weekend, leading the day with $5.7M, down a tiny 25% from last week.  If this number holds, its full weekend could reach $19-20M, which would give it a total of $70M+ and a clear path to $100M.  It joins Midnight In Paris as the first genuine Oscar candidate of the year.

RETURN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES should come in 2d with another $15-16M that would bring its total above $130M.  After that, it gets ugly.

SPY KIDS:  ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD surprisingly seems to have the lead among the new arrivals even before weekend matinees begin, but that slim lead might not hold, and in any case its $13M opening would be a fraction of the $33M earned by Spy Kids 3 the last time out. 

CONAN THE BARBARIAN roused little interest and may not even reach $12M for the weekend.  Since word of mouth won’t be its friend, Lionsgate may be hard-pressed to make back its investment of $25M for US distribution and probably at least that much again for domestic marketing.

When the Dreamworks/Disney execs are asked about FRIGHT NIGHT and its anemic weekend of $8-9M, they’ll change the conversation back to The Help.  The picture has little chance of making back its $35M budget plus marketing.

ONE DAY doesn’t seem likely even to hit its low $6M projection, if the $1.8M Friday number holds.  Although the film was relatively low budget and had smaller marketing costs than the other openings, that’s still barely a pulse.  This would make two flops in a row for Anne Hathaway, after last year’s Love And Other Drugs (and let’s not mention her Oscar hosting gig); luckily, the next picture she has coming out is a little indie called The Dark Knight Rises.


We’ve gotten used to elections being called the moment the polls close, and now weekend boxoffice analysis begins while tickets are still being sold.  The Hollywood Reporter has fast Friday numbers, and they show a tightly bunched pack, with THE HELP, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, FRIGHT NIGHT and SPY KIDS:  ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD grossing $4-5.5M for the day.  This kind of result favors Apes (perhaps $15M for the weekend) and especially The Help ($18-19M) over Saturday and Sunday, because movies tend to be much less front-loaded after their opening weekends are over.  Spy Kids, too, may benefit from matinee business on Saturday, and get to $14-15M, while Conan ($13-14M) and Fright Night ($12-13M) are more likely to dip after today. 
ONE DAY is described as described as “starting off slow,” and considering that the picture is in a half-hearted release of 1700 theatres and was expected only to make $6M or so for the weekend, one wonders just how soft that number is.

Stay with SHOWBUZZDAILY all weekend as the numbers roll in, and look for Mitch Metcalf’s analysis of the Friday grosses and weekend estimates.  (His predictions for the weekend are here.) 

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."