October 29, 2011

THE BIJOU: Friday Boxoffice Footnotes – 10/28/11

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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PUSS IN BOOTS will have 3 weeks in theatres without serious competition for its target audience (until Happy Feet 2 opens on November 18), which is why DreamWorks moved the opening back a week.  The picture can use the help, since its $35M opening is far from overwhelming.  However, it should perform well overseas–especially in Spanish-speaking territories–so it’s likely to end up in decent shape. Whether it will be strong enough to launch a new franchise, as the studio had hoped, is less clear.

Not much to say about IN TIME and THE RUM DIARY.  Neither has much chance of earning back its production and marketing costs.  In Time is a step back for Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, neither of whom seem able to carry a movie that doesn’t have something else to sell.  Rum Diary was basically a vanity project for Johnny Depp, undertaken because of his veneration for Hunter S. Thompson (Depp is also a producer of the film), and studios that finance vanity projects do so at their own risk.  (After Rum Diary and The Playboy Club, Amber Heard should probably avoid projects set in the 1960s.)
With Puss In Boots in the market, all the holdovers took major hits, although considering the front-loaded nature of the horror genre, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3‘s hold was fine, and it’s running far ahead of  Paranormal 2‘s pace. 
Sony’s cut-back opening of ANONYMOUS was unimpressive, with perhaps $3500 in each of 265 theatres. Paramount launched LIKE CRAZY well in the traditional 4 theatre NY/LA prestige film pattern, and should hit just about the same $35K per theatre that THE SKIN I LIVE IN and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE did in the past 2 weeks.  
Both of those movies expanded their runs this weekend to 32 theatres, which represented a tripling of Skin‘s release and a jump from 4 for MarthaMartha is doing somewhat better, with probably $7K in each, while Skin isn’t too far behind with $5500.  Additional widening in the next few weeks will tell the tale on both.  MARGIN CALL has had a more aggressive release strategy than either, and broadened to 140 theatres this weekend while remaining available on VOD.  It’s headed for a healthy $4500 per theatre and has already grossed $1.4M (not counting VOD revenues) and seems able to get to $3M+.
Next weekend brings comedies of different stripes:  Universal’s all-quadrant TOWER HEIST and A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D XMAS.  The latter is likely to be more front-loaded, which could make for an interesting first couple of days.


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."