January 2, 2013


The first weekend of 2013 should total about $117 million for the top 12 films, somewhat below average for a normally sluggish weekend as life and movie-going returns to normal.  Texas Chainsaw 3D has the most promise of the films going wide this weekend and will duel with Django Unchained for second place (and possibly with The Hobbit for the top spot if there is any upside to the sixth treatment of this gory source material).  

Opening Friday at approximately 3,000 2,654 theaters, Texas Chainsaw 3D from Lionsgate  should average $5,900 $6,700 per theater for the weekend (for a $17.8 million opening weekend).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,300 per theater.]  Critics are silent on this film, as it has been hidden from them until the consumer release.  Given its horror genre, the film will not play in theaters very long, and we are guessing bad word of mouth will kill its run even faster.  Texas Chainsaw should end its run with barely $40 million domestic.

Expanding to about 900 1,675 theaters (up from 25 currently), Promised Land from Focus/ Universal should average a sub-par $1,900 per theater (for a $3.1 million semi-wide opening weekend).  Critics are lukewarm (currently 48% positive rating at RottenTomatoes).  Let’s face it, a movie about fracking — or any environmental picture — better have stellar reviews if it stands a chance outside the art house circuit.  Promised Land should end up with $15 million domestic.

Also expanding (from 15 theaters to around 400 572), The Impossible distributed by Summit should average a similar $2,500 per theater Friday-Sunday (for a $1.5 million weekend).  Critics are positive (79% positive score so far), and it has some fine performances (especially Naomi Watts and newcomer Tom Holland) to punctuate the brilliant recreation of the terrifying 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  But it feels like a very small film that will lose theaters rapidly.  The film should struggle to get to $11 million domestic.



January 4-6, 2013

Critics Positive ($ millions)
Opening Weekend Forecast Domestic Total Projection
Texas Chainsaw 3D LG R n/a 17.8 40
Promised Land FOC/Uni R 48% 3.1 15
The Impossible Summit PG13 79% 1.4 11

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.


The Hobbit is gunning for another weekend at #1.


January 4-6, 2013

 Change vs Last Weekend ($ millions)
Weekend Forecast Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey WB -38% 19.8 295
Django Unchained Weins -42% 17.5 155
Les Miserables Uni -45% 15.1 145
Parental Guidance Fox -33% 9.8 75
Jack Reacher Par -40% 8.4 95
This Is 40 Uni -37% 7.8 80
Lincoln Dis -28% 5.5 150
The Guilt Trip Par -34% 4.4 50
Monsters, Inc. 3D Dis -42% 3.8 50
Silver Linings Playbook Weins -24% 3.1 70


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $125 million total, ranking 27th of 52 weeks.  Last year, this weekend’s total was $126 million (while 2011’s comparable weekend was $99 million).  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a soft $117 million, down 7% from the average comparable weekend over the past four years and down 8% from the same weekend last year, which featured the surprising (and deceptively high) debut of The Devil Inside.   


This Weekend Last Two Years


The Devil Inside PAR R
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $17 Actual: $34
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $52 Actual: $53
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $48

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy UNI R Gary Oldman Colin Firth
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $4 Actual: $5
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $27 Actual: $24
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $56


Season of the Witch REL PG13 Nicolas Cage Ron Perlman
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $10 Actual: $11
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $23 Actual: $25
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $62

Country Strong SONY PG13 Gwyneth Paltrow Tim McGraw
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $8 Actual: $7
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $18 Actual: $20
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $0


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.