August 1, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Weekend #31 of 2012 looks more like a late August weekend: two films opening with very little excitement.  The top 12 films this weekend should total $116 million, down significantly from last year’s comparable weekend, which featured the surprisingly successful (and good) Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Total Recall, however, feels like it will perform worse than the original.

Opening at about 3,400 theaters, Total Recall from Sony should average $7,500 per theater (for a $25.5 million opening weekend).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.]  No reviews yet on RottenTomatoes.  The natural conclusion:  Danger, Will Robinson! Movie being hidden because it blows.  With the usual sci-fi drop-offs in the subsequent weekends, the estimated total domestic gross for Total Recall is a preliminary $64 million.  There should be some decent international potential (more on that Sunday), but the studio’s share of worldwide box office might just barely cover marketing expenses (forget about the production budget).  

A trip down memory lane: June 1, 1990.  The first Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger opened at #1 with $25.5 million on its way to $119.4 million domestic.  In today’s dollars, that’s a $48 million opening weekend and a $223 million domestic gross.  

Opening at around 3,100 theaters, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days from 20th Century Fox should average a $6,500 per theater (for a $20.0 million opening weekend).  The third Diary of a Wimpy Kid film should be a touch below the previous installment.  (Diary of a Wimpy Kid opened in March 2010 with $22.1 million and finished with $64.0 million; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules opened in March 2011 with $23.7 million and grossed $52.7 million.)  We have Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days grossing around $50 million domestic.

August 3-5, 2012 Critics Positive Opening Weekend Forecast Domestic Total Projection
Total Recall
Sony PG13 n/a 25.5 64
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Fox PG n/a 20.0 50

Note: Although critic reviews are not related to the size of the opening weekend, they are significantly correlated with the size of the declines in the opening weeks of a movie.

* The Domestic Total is a very early ShowBuzzDaily projection of the total North American gross, based on the Weekend Forecasts.


Dark Knight Rises should be #1 again this weekend, unless Total Recall pulls off a major upset.

RETURNING FILMS ($ millions)
August 3-5, 2012 Change vs Last Weekend Weekend Forecast Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
Dark Knight Rises WB -46% 33.8 430
Ice Age: Continental Drift Fox -36% 8.5 150
The Watch Fox -51% 6.3 32
Step Up Revolution Sum -53% 5.5 33
Ted Uni -28% 5.3 219
Amazing Spider-Man Sony -38% 4.2 275
Brave Dis -52% 2.9 232
Magic Mike WB -43% 1.5 116


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $131 million total, ranking 20th of 52 weeks. Last year, this weekend’s total was $158 million (while 2010’s comparable weekend was $123 million).  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a chilly $116 million, down 26% from this weekend last year (which was helped by the surprisingly strong Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and down 11% from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.  


This Weekend Last Two Years


Rise of the Planet of the Apes FOX PG13 James Franco Freida Pinto
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $43 Actual: $55
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $180 Actual: $177
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $305

The Change-Up UNI R Jason Bateman Ryan Reynolds
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $20 Actual: $14
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $38 Actual: $37
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $38


The Other Guys SONY PG13 Will Ferrell Mark Wahlberg
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $30 Actual: $36
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $119 Actual: $119
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $51

Step Up 3-D DIS PG13
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $19 Actual: $16
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $47 Actual: $42
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $117


Check back throughout the weekend for box office updates as the actual numbers come in.


About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.