January 5, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>2012 is underway with one wide release this weekend (and only 2,000 theaters or so at that) and one major expansion.  The Devil Inside should battle Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol for the top spot this weekend.  As a whole, the weekend volume for the top 12 films will be around $102 million, up about 3% from the same weekend last year (which was no picnic).           

Opening at over 2,000 theaters, The Devil Inside from Paramount should average a decent $8,100 per theater (for $16.5 million Friday-Sunday).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.]  Critical assessment is unknown, as the horror film has not been released early for critics.  The Devil Inside is on track for a preliminary $38 million domestically.     

Expanding to around 750 theaters, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy from Focus/ Universal should average around $5,000 per theater (for $4.0 million Friday-Sunday).  Critics have been very supportive: 85% positive at RottenTomatoes so far.  The film should continue to expand slowly and play fairly well through awards season — we are giving it a preliminary estimate of a $25 million domestic final. 

New Films                        Critics    Opening  Domestic
January 6-8                      Positive   Weekend   Total*

The Devil Inside         Par  R     n/a      $16.5     $ 38
Tinker Tailor Solider SpyFoc  R     85%      $ 4.0     $ 25

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 most tempting holiday leftover in the fridge, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, will battle The Devil Inside for the top spot this weekend.  The other holdovers will be a touch above or below $10 million for the weekend, with fairly average 40% declines from last weekend.   

Major Returning Films            Change     This    Domestic
January 6-8                     vs wknd 1  Weekend   Total*

Mission: Impossible 4   Par       -44%      $16.5     $240
Sherlock Holmes 2        WB       -45%      $11.5     $190
Alvin & Chipmunks 3     Fox       -39%      $10.0     $130

Girl Dragon Tattoo     Sony       -38%      $ 9.0     $105
We Bought a Zoo         Fox       -37%      $ 8.5     $ 85
War Horse            DW/Dis       -42%      $ 8.5     $ 92
Adventures of Tintin    Par       -38%      $ 7.0     $ 88


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in the comparable weekend have averaged $120 million total, ranking 26th of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $99 million, and the same weekend in 2010 was $149 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like $102 million, up 3% from this weekend last year but down 16% from an “average” comparable weekend.          

This Weekend Last Two Years

 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
 Daybreakers LG R Ethan Hawke Willem Dafoe 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $15  Actual: $15
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $37  Actual: $30
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $20
 Leap Year UNI PG Amy Adams Mathhew Goode 
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $11  Actual: $9
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $28  Actual: $26
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $6
 Youth in Revolt WEINS R Michael Cera  
 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $6  Actual: $7
 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $22  Actual: $15
 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $3

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.

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.