October 15, 2011

THE BIJOU: Friday Boxoffice Footnotes – 10/14/11


FOOTLOOSE has the advantage of facing no new direct competition on Friday.  That, along with what should be fairly good word of mouth, could give it some legs in the marketplace.  THE THING, on the other hand, had a make-or-break weekend this week with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 about to hit, and it’s not going to do much better than DREAM HOUSE did 2 weeks ago.

THE BIG YEAR is far from an art-house curiosity–it’s a (supposedly) commercial mainstream comedy, and yet it’s going to go in the books as one of the lowest-grossing big-studio movies of the entire year.  It’s astounding that the combined names of Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson couldn’t even get this to the level of “mediocre.”
REAL STEEL had a very decent hold (the weekend title this week will boil down to today’s battle for the Saturday matinee audience), but its important number will be the international gross tomorrow, since it has no chance of breaking even without a strong overseas performance.
THE IDES OF MARCH and 50/50 are models of how producers can make relatively serious movies on reasonable (i.e., low) budgets and–despite marginal international appeal–have a chance at seeing profit.  (MONEYBALL, which cost more than double the two of them combined, is more problematic.)  Of course, it helps that word of mouth on both pictures is obviously exceptional, with 50/50 getting The Help-level retention at a drop of only 25% from last week, and Ides not much worse.
In limited release, the unquestionable highlight is Pedro Almodovar’s strange, compelling thriller THE SKIN I LIVE IN (don’t let anyone tell you the 2d-act secret).  It’s going to do a terrific $37K or so in each of 6 theatres, and has a chance of finding a wider audience.  The long-delayed FIREFLIES IN THE GARDEN could do an OK $6500 in each of 5, while TEXAS KILLING FIELDS is headed for a blah $3500 in each of 3.
Next weekend is all about Paranormal Activity 3, which will be aiming at the $40M earned by Paranormal 2 in its debut.  The 3D THREE MUSKETEERS and JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN will be much less of a factor.  

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."