February 23, 2012


>The eighth weekend of the year should generate about $116 million for the top 12 films — up 21% from last year’s comparable weekend and up 25% from the four-year average for this weekend.  The big studios are sitting out Oscar weekend, leaving it to Relativity, Lionsgate and Summit to open films as attention shifts to the Kodak Hollywood and Highland Theater Sunday.  Well, OK, Universal is opening a film this weekend with a tepid theater count of under 2,000 locations.  We are giving the slight edge to Act of Valor, although we will probably regret this as we have underestimated Tyler Perry before.  It should be a good race to #1 throughout the weekend, with the top film probably coming in under $20 million.   

Opening at over 3,000 theaters, Act of Valor from Relativity should average an okay $5,900 per theater (for $18.0 million Friday-Sunday).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.]  No reviews yet for this war movie featuring real Navy SEALs — the entire crop of films opening this weekend is being hidden from film critics.  Act of Valor is on track for a preliminary $47 million domestically.            

Opening in around 2,000 theaters, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds from Lionsgate should average a decent $8,600 per theater ($17.0 million Friday-Sunday).  Good Deeds is headed for a total domestic gross of $45 million, a notch below recent Tyler Perry films: Madea’s Big Happy Family ($53.3 million) in April 2011, Why Did I Get Married ($60.1 million) in April 2010 and I Can Do Bad All By Myself ($51.7 million) in September 2009.  Perry’s biggest hit so far was Madea Goes to Jail ($90.5 million) in February 2009. 

In around 1,900 theaters, Universal’s Wanderlust (starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) should average a soft $4,800 per theater ($9.0 million from Friday-Sunday).  The R-rated comedy is on track for a final tally of maybe $34 million domestic.  

Finally, Amanda Seyfried in Gone from Summit is opening in about 2,000 theaters and should average a meager $3,100 per theater ($6.0 million opening weekend).  The film is headed for a final domestic total of $14 million.

New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
February 24-26                   Positive   Weekend   Total*

Act of Valor             Rel  R     n/a      $18.0     $ 47
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds LG   PG13  n/a      $17.0     $ 45
Wanderlust               Uni  R     n/a      $ 9.0     $ 34
Gone                     Sum  PG13  n/a      $ 6.0     $ 14

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.

After Act of Valor and Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds at #1 and #2, there should be a pretty good battle for third through fifth place between third weekend entries Safe House, Journey 2 and The Vow.  The bottom should drop out of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in its second weekend.  

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
February 24-26                  vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*

Safe House               Uni      -46%      $13.0     $139
Journey 2                 WB      -36%      $12.8     $104

The Vow                 Sony      -48%      $12.0     $143
This Means War           Fox      -46%      $ 9.5     $ 49
Ghost Rider Spirit of V Sony      -62%      $ 8.5     $ 58
Secret World Arrietty    Dis      -34%      $ 4.5     $ 25

Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $92 million total, ranking 42nd of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $96 million, and the same weekend in 2010 was $107 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a solid $116 million, up 21% from this weekend last year and up 25% from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.          

This Weekend Last Two Years

 Hall Pass WB R Owen Wilson Jason Sudeikis 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $16  Actual: $14
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $48  Actual: $45
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $38
 Drive Angry 3D SUMMIT R Nicolas Cage  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $12  Actual: $5
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $14  Actual: $10
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $18
 Cop Out WB R Bruce Willis Tracy Morgan 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $18  Actual: $18
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $51  Actual: $45
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $11
 The Crazies OVERTURE R Timothy Olyphant Radha Mitchell 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $16  Actual: $16
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $46  Actual: $39
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $15

Come back throughout the weekend to see how the movies actually perform.  Saturday morning we will have an early look at how the weekend is shaping up, on Sunday we will have initial studio estimates (based on Friday and Saturday actuals), and Monday we will have the final weekend numbers.

Enjoy the Academy Awards Sunday, and be sure to look for Mitch Salem’s take on the winners and losers, the telecast itself and the movie spots airing inside the big show.  Happy Oscars, everybody.


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.