August 5, 2012



The 41% Weekend 3 drop for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Warners) is a bit better than Dark Knight‘s parallel 43% decline, but in actual numbers, Dark Knight‘s 3d weekend is $6.3M ahead ($42.7M vs $36.4M), and the $39M gap that separates them probably can’t be bridged. Internationally, though, Rises is at $378M in only 68 territories, $91M below Dark Knight‘s overseas total.  Warners claims to be running 31% ahead of Dark Knight in the parallel point of its release, which could mean a final $600M international figure for Rises and possibly even a higher worldwide total than Dark Knight‘s $1B.

OPENINGS:  TOTAL RECALL (Sony) claims a $26M weekend that coincidentally happens to be just $500K above the mark of shame the studio desperately wanted to avoid:  being outgrossed by the 1990 original and its $25.5M start.  In order to get there, Sony is claiming the picture will have the weekend’s 2d lowest Sunday decline of the Top 10, and we won’t know until Monday if that turns out to be true.  (Incidentally, boxoffice apologists who argue that the Recall opening is just fine because after all, it outgrossed Colin Farrell’s previous star openings–which is to say, it did better than Miami Vice and Alexander–are first of all factually wrong, since the opening is far below SWAT‘s $37M start, but more importantly have no conception of how the movie business works.  It’s like saying Iron Man would have opened well if it started with $20M instead of $98M, because after all, that would have been the highest opening of Robert Downey, Jr’s career at that point.  This Recall, unlike the Schwarzenegger original, was never intended or marketed as a star vehicle, any more than Spider-Man was a Tobey Maguire vehicle, The Hunger Games was a Jennifer Lawrence vehicle, or Transformers was a Shia LeBeouf vehicle.)

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID:  DOG DAYS (20th) is opening one-third or more below the previous installments of the franchise with $14.7M, and unlike franchises like Ice Age and Step Up, it’s not a series that plays unusually well overseas.  What was never a robust profit center is probably reduced to zero with this one.

HOLDOVERS:  THE WATCH (20th) and STEP UP REVOLUTION (Summit) fell 50% and 55%, respectively, in their 2d weekends.  (Step Up, though, in keeping with its track record, already has $17.5M overseas in just 20 territories, and will make the bulk of its money outside the US.)  Longer runs were consistent with their patterns, with TED (Universal) leading the pack with only a 26% drop (and surpassing $200M in total US boxoffice), and the rest falling around 35% as they near the tail end of their runs.  ICE AGE 4 (20th) may be lagging in the US, with a likely $150-160M total, but it’s at $587M overseas, just $107M off Ice Age 3‘s torrid international pace.

LIMITED RELEASE:  CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER (Sony Classics) began its run with a very strong $28K average in 4 NY/LA theatres.  360 (Magnolia), also available on VOD, had an OK $6K average at 2 theatres.  BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Fox Searchlight) widened its run by 50% to 318 theatres (a wider run than Searchlight ever gave The Tree of Life last year), and had a $3700 average.  The same studio’s RUBY SPARKS expanded to 64 with a $6300 average, which is decent, but nowhere near the $19K average (500) Days of Summer had when it hit 85 theatres.  The very good French film FAREWELL MY QUEEN (Cohen Media) had a $3300 average at 56.  William Friedkin’s NC-17 KILLER JOE (LD) had a solid $11.2K average at 14.  Meanwhile, MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) barely budged, down only 14% for the weekend despite losing 20% of its theatres–it’s $4.2M below The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for summer indie movie bragging rights.

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."