March 20, 2013


Updated throughout: theater counts and critical sentiment for films opening this weekend.

The 12th weekend of 2013 looks like it will be way off last year’s pace set by the opening of The Hunger Games, but the weekend will be closer to a more normal year.  The top 12 films Friday-Sunday should total $126 million, down 38% from this weekend last year but up a bit from other recent years.  The Croods will open at #1 but nowhere near what a DreamWorks animated film should do.  The other three openers will be more quiet affairs.

Opening at a very high 3,900 4,046 theaters Friday, The Croods from DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox should average a better than average $10,300 $9,970 per theater for the weekend (for a $40.5 million opening weekend).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening weekend of $5,300 per theater.]  Early reviews at RottenTomatoes are strong fairly positive (83% 70% positive reviews so far), but DreamWorks has really lost its mojo of late with moviegoers.  The Croods should be on course for $146 million domestic as lots of anxious Wall Street analysts are quoted Monday morning when the DWA stock edges down a few percentage points.  The Croods is not a disaster like Rise of the Guardians ($103 million domestic) or Prince of Egypt ($101 million) or Antz ($91 million).  And no one expects Shrek 2 ($441 million) or Shrek the Third ($323 million), but its far from the “zone” of Kung Fu Panda ($215 million) or Monsters vs Aliens ($198 million) or Madagascar ($194 million).

Opening at a slightly above average 3,000 3,098 theaters Friday, Olympus Has Fallen from FilmDistrict should average a decent $7,500 $7,200 per theater for the weekend (for a $22.5 million opening weekend).  Early reviews at RottenTomatoes are polite, at best (58% 57% positive so far).  Olympus Has Fallen is on track for about $67 million domestic.

Opening at a below average 2,100 2,160 theaters Friday, Admission from Focus/ Universal should average a soft $4,300 $4,100 per theater for the weekend (for a $9 million opening weekend).  Who would have thought that a Tina Fey comedy would be the worst-reviewed film of the weekend (a tepid 42% 38% positive so far)?  Admission is on track for about $26 million domestic.

Opening at a just-barely-wide 1,000 1,104 theaters Friday, Spring Breakers from A24 should actually average a good $8,000 $7,260 per theater for the weekend (for an $8 million first wide weekend).  Last weekend, the Selena Gomez/ Vanessa Hudgens’ jailbreak from the prison of Disney wholesomeness previewed at three theaters with $263,002 (an excellent $87,667 average).  Reviews are actually decent (70% 75% positive).  Spring Breakers could be headed for about $29 million domestic.


March 22-24, 2013

Critics Positive ($ millions)
Opening Weekend Forecast Domestic Total Projection
The Croods DW/Fox PG 70% 40.5 146
Olympus Has Fallen FilmDis PG13 57% 22.5 67
Admission Focus/Uni PG13 38% 9.0 26
Spring Breakers A24 R 75% 8.0 29

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.


Oz the Great and Powerful remains the only game in town among the holdovers.  


March 22-24, 2013

 Change vs Last Weekend ($ millions)
Weekend Forecast Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
Oz the Great and Powerful Dis -49% 20.9 248
The Call Sony -49% 8.8 49
Incredible Burt Wonderstone WB -50% 5.1 29
Jack the Giant Slayer WB -49% 3.3 66
Identity Thief Uni -39% 2.7 140
Snitch Summit -44% 2.0 45


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $142 million total, ranking 18th of 52 weeks.  Last year, this weekend’s total was $204 million, when The Hunger Games opened triumphantly, (while 2011 was a more down-to-earth $109 million and 2010 was $117 million).  This Friday-Sunday is looking like $126 million, down 38% from the same weekend last year.   


This Weekend Last Two Years


The Hunger Games LG PG13 Jennifer Lawrence Josh Hutcherson
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $128 Actual: $153
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $378 Actual: $408
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $277


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules FOX PG Steve Zahn
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $21 Actual: $24
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $58 Actual: $52
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $19

Sucker Punch WB PG13 Emily Browning Abbie Cornish
Opening Weekend — Forecast: $23 Actual: $19
Domestic Gross — Estimate: $38 Actual: $36
International — Estimate: n/a Actual: $53


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.