April 22, 2012



OPENINGS:  THINK LIKE A MAN (Screen Gems/Sony) ran away with the weekend, with a $33M opening that beat every Tyler Perry start except Madea Goes To Jail.  Perry’s movies tend to be quite frontloaded, ending up with a little over double their opening weekend, and we’ll see if Think can hold up better.  In any case, with a production budget under $15M, the picture is already a home run.  THE LUCKY ONE (Warners) also opened well with $22.8M, although playing in 1000 more theatres than Think Like A Man, its per-theatre gross was less than half of Think‘s.  Both movies may be squeezed next weekend by the arrival of The Five-Year EngagementDisneynature’s CHIMPANZEE is basing its $10.2M weekend number on an extremely low 20% estimated Sunday drop, and tomorrow will tell us if that number really begins with a “10.”  Even if it doesn’t, the weekend is still considerably higher than the $6M or so earned by its predecessors Oceans and African Cats.

THE HUNGER GAMES:  Its $14.5M Weekend 5 is the 9th highest ever (down only 31% from last week), and the $356.9M total to date puts it at #19 all-time so far.  If it can manage not to lose theatres too badly during the opening weeks of the summer movie season (which starts in 2 weeks with The Avengers), it should be on track to take over the #13 slot, leaving Harry Potter and Twilight in its wake.  Meanwhile, Hunger has now grossed $216M overseas, which is far behind Potter and the later Twilights, but above the original Twilight‘s $200M (as the franchise became better known internationally, the overseas grosses for the sequels shot up, and Lionsgate will no doubt be hoping the same holds true here).  
HOLDOVERS:  THE THREE STOOGES (20th) dropped by a pretty good 46%, playing to a heavy Saturday matinee crowd.  For a horror movie, CABIN IN THE WOODS (Lionsgate) also did well, with a 47% drop.  AMERICAN REUNION (Universal) fell by another 50%, while 21 JUMP STREET (Sony) continued to hold on superbly, falling only 30% in its 6th weekend.  The people who wanted to see TITANIC 3D (Paramount) did it quickly, as the epic dropped a a big 58% for the weekend.  SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN had another marvelous drop of only 25%, but its numbers are so low that it only leaves the picture with a $1500 average at 445 theatres, less than Wrath of the Titans (Warners)‘s average in more than 5x as many multiplexes.    Sony Classics’ attempt to build THE RAID:  REDEMPTION into a mainstream hit failed–the picture lost half its theatres this week, and may not get to a $5M total.  (In its 2d weekend of international-only release, BATTLESHIP (Universal) doubled its territories to 50 but could only match last weekend’s $58M start.  With most of the major territories already in play and only 14 still to come, the picture doesn’t seem to be getting the overseas punch the studio had hoped for, despite content specifically tailored for the Asian market.  That’s not good news with a gargantuan price-tag of $350-400M including worldwide marketing.  Early international numbers have BATTLESHIP (Universal) adding about $50M for its overseas-only weekend–that would be slightly down from last weekend’s $58M despite doubling its territories, which wouldn’t be a great sign.)
LIMITED RELEASE:  DARLING COMPANION (Sony Classics), with all its pedigree, couldn’t manage a $12K average at only 4 theatres. The documentary MARLEY (Magnolia) had a $6K average in 42, but the Korean MY WAY (CJ) had a disastrous $750 average at 22 theatres.  A couple of expansions didn’t go too well:  BULLY (Weinstein Company) added 40% more theatres but still went down for the weekend, with an average under $2K at 263, while DAMSELS IN DISTRESS (Sony Classics) doubled its theatre count but only increased its take by 50%, with a $2600 average at 46.  And anyone wanting to know what “frontloading” is should look at WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED:  ON THE 7TH DAY (Code Black):  after an opening based largely on church groups, the movie plummeted 83% in its 2d weekend, despite adding a few theatres.  (And similarly, the much hyped anti-abortion piece OCTOBER BABY (Goldwyn) fell another 55% to an $800 average, and won’t get much past $5M total.)

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."