October 1, 2011

THE BIJOU: Friday Boxoffice Footnotes – 9/30/11


THE SOCIAL NETWORK fell only 31% in its second weekend, so MONEYBALL, which is headed for a fall closer to 40% (after a lower opening), continues not to be in Network‘s league financially.  The timing of a movie like this is tricky, because if it’s out of theatres when the awards discussions start to become serious, it can lose momentum, and that’s the danger for Moneyball.  (It will also face direct competition–from Sony, its own studio–next week from THE IDES OF MARCH.)
Summit spent a lot of time and effort trying to get people into 50/50 (Seth Rogen, who’s a producer as well as star of the film, seemed to be interviewed everywhere), and with good reason, because it’s an excellent movie.  Audiences who showed up seem to get it–to the extent Cinemascore means anything, 50/50 received an A- grade–but selling a comedy about cancer is just a tough nut to crack.  

DOLPHIN TALE is benefitting from the fact that it’s actually a pretty decent family movie, but it faces competition next weekend from Real Steel (although Dolphin is by far the better picture).  To no one’s surprise, Disney held LION KING in theatres even though the blu-ray is being released on Tuesday; it’ll be interesting to see whether all these boxoffice dollars will help or hurt the video sales.
COURAGEOUS proves once again that the church audience is eager to be roused by movie marketing, and while the movie is unlikely to get any kind of crossover attention, it’ll be quite profitable due to its limited budget and marketing costs.  (The movie’s “A+” from Cinemascore is fairly meaningless, since the people they polled are exactly the people most likely to adore it.)
On the “disaster” side of the ledger, the producers of DREAM HOUSE took the movie away from its director Jim Sheridan, and that led to Sheridan and stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts largely refusing to do any publicity for the film–which led to Universal not screening it for critics.  The result is a fairly expensive movie (which is indeed lousy, at least in its non-director’s-cut form) that’s looking at red ink.  Also, the discussion on whether Anna Faris is a “star” can end–she’s not.  I liked WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER? far more than most (at the very least, it doesn’t compare badly to most of Katherine Heigl’s output), but no one out there is buying a ticket to see Faris, no matter how talented she is.
In limited release, TAKE SHELTER is headed for a heartening $17.5K at each of 3 theatres, but it’s a troubling movie that is likely to have a hard time attracting a mainstream audience.  Fans of car wrecks showed up for MARGARET to the tune of around $3500 in each of 2–that’s the movie that sat on the shelf for 6 years while its director and producers fought about the editing.  And MACHINE GUN PREACHER expanded from 4 theatres to 33; without the cushion of Q&As with the stars, its per-theatre gross dropped sharply to around $3K. 
Next weekend brings one movie looking for a massive audience (REAL STEEL) and one that would be satisfied with more modest returns and some awards attention (THE IDES OF MARCH).  An early word of advice:  go with the humans.

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."