November 12, 2011

THE BIJOU: Friday Boxoffice Footnotes – 11/11/11


Whether or not IMMORTALS holds together at the boxoffice after its opening few days, the impressive launch is good news for Relativity, which is trying to prove it can survive as a standalone distributor of Hollywood-level movies.  That doesn’t necessarily mean Immortals will hit profit (its financial picture is complicated by various distributors handling it around the world, and uncertainty about what the budget actually was), but it does mean Relativity can claim a #1 opening for a picture with no huge stars to promote.  (Also happy:  Warner Bros, which can now say that its new Superman has already been the star of a hit.)

The JACK AND JILL opening looks to be in line with Adam Sandler’s last family outing, 2008’s Bedtime Stories, which started with a $27M weekend.  However, that picture opened on Christmas Day and had the benefit of the giant boxoffice week that follows, resulting in a total that was 4x its first 3 days.  J&J probably won’t have a trajectory anything like that, which will likely make this–amazingly enough–his first “non-serious” starring vehicle not to hit $100M since Little Nicky in 2000.  In fairness, it will be far more successful than that flop, although it does bear the burden of a $80M budget (which means total worldwide costs of probably $200M+ once marketing is added in).
J. EDGAR was always intended as a longterm play that would stay in theatres throughout the holiday/awards season.  Its opening looks to be in line with Hereafter‘s $12M, but that picture got no awards traction and petered out at $33M (although it made more than double that overseas).  J. Edgar should open better than either Invictus or Changeling, but neither of those got to $40M either (even with a Best Actress nomination for Angelina Jolie on the latter).  The movie’s fate will rest on word of mouth and how it fares in early critics’ awards.
The great news for DreamWorks Animation is that PUSS IN BOOTS was actually up from last Friday (thanks in part to the Veterans Day holiday), meaning another solid hold for the weekend.  The less-great news is that an avalanche of kids movies is about to fall, with Happy Feet 2 arriving Friday, followed less than a week later by The Muppets, Hugo and Arthur Christmas, making this the movie’s last wide-open weekend.
TOWER HEIST isn’t going to have a terrible drop (that’s the advantage of an older-skewing audience), but seems unlikely to get much past $75M, which won’t pay the bills once marketing costs are figured in.  The overseas openings to date haven’t been promising either.  
We’re still a couple of weeks away from the explosion of indie movies that will arrive for awards season, but Lars Von Trier’s MELANCHOLIA, riding mostly excellent reviews, should do around $15K in each of 18 theatres (it’s also available on VOD and aired last week on the HDMovie network).  LIKE CRAZY expanded to 70 theatres and should have a pretty good $8500 average.
Although as noted the family holiday season kicks off next weekend with HAPPY FEET 2 (the original opened with $41M in 2006), next week is all about THE TWILIGHT SAGA:  BREAKING DAWN PART 1, which should easily own every multiplex in the country as of 12:01AM Thursday night.  New Moon, the last chapter of the saga to open on a Friday, holds the 4th highest opening weekend of all time with a staggering $143M in its first 3 days (including $26M from Thursday midnight shows), so that’s the number to beat.    

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."