May 9, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Weekend #19 of 2012 looks like it will be about $163 million for the top 12 films, up 26% from last year’s comparable weekend and up the same amount from the four-year average for this weekend.  Only one movie dares to open against the second weekend of The Avengers phenomenon.  Dark Shadows should actually have a reasonably good opening (enough to win just about any other weekend of the year), but it will look feeble when compared to the assembled super heroes.           

Opening at an estimated 3,700 theaters, Dark Shadows from Warner Brothers should average a solid $9,300 per theater (for $34.5 million Friday-Sunday).  [The average wide-release film the past two years has had an opening three-day weekend of $5,525 per theater.]  Reviews at RottenTomatoes are currently running at 49% positive for the Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeifer.  Dark Shadows is on track for a preliminary $95 million domestic.            


May 11-13, 2012 Critics Positive Opening Weekend Forecast Domestic Total Projection
Dark Shadows WB PG13 49% 34.5 95

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 weekend is really going to be dominated by the second weekend of Marvel’s The Avengers.  Business so far this week has continued to be brisk, $18.9 million Monday and $17.7 million Tuesday.  To put those weekday numbers in perspective, Monday is the #8 Monday of all time — on a list dominated by Memorial Days, summer Mondays near the 4th of July and Mondays between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  The more relevant comparisons (a Monday with school and work in session) are Spider-Man‘s $11.0 million on May 6, 2002 (#51 Monday of all time) and The Hunger Games‘ $10.8 million on March 26, 2012 (#56).  Tuesday had an even better profile for The Avengers: the #4 Tuesday of all time (again on a list filled with summer and Christmas holiday week dates).  We’ll go with a 50% drop for The Avengers to $104 million this weekend.  No film has grossed $100 million domestically in its second weekend — so it would smash the second weekend record (even more than it shattered the opening weekend record).  The current record holder for weekend two is Avatar with $75.6 million, followed closely by The Dark Knight ($75.2 million), Shrek 2 ($72.2 million) and Spider-Man ($71.4 million). 


RETURNING FILMS ($ millions)
May 11-13, 2012 Change vs Last Weekend Weekend Forecast Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
The Avengers Dis -50% 104 505
Think Like a Man Sony -44% 4.6 95
The Hunger Games LG -36% 3.6 405
Pirates! Band of Misfits Sony -39% 3.4 34
The Lucky One WB -41% 3.2 58
Five-Year Engagement Uni -41% 3.0 32
Chimpanzee Dis -38% 1.6 30
The Raven Rel -53% 1.3 14
Safe LG -55% 1.2 18


Box Office Volume

For the past four years, the top 12 films in this comparable weekend have averaged $129 million total, ranking 21st of 52 weeks.  Last year this weekend’s total was $129 million, while the same weekend in 2010 was $131 million.  This Friday-Sunday is looking like a very good $163 million, up 26% from this weekend last year and up the same percentage from an “average” comparable weekend over the past four years.              


This Weekend Last Two Years


 Bridesmaids UNI R Rose Byrne Kristen Wiig  

 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $20  Actual: $26

 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $121  Actual: $169

 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $119


 Priest SONY PG13 Paul Bettany Cam Gigandet  

 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $17  Actual: $15

 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $30  Actual: $29

 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $49



 Robin Hood UNI PG13 Russell Crowe Cate Blachett  

 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $37  Actual: $36

 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $112  Actual: $105

 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $206


 Letters to Juliet SUMMIT PG Amanda Seyfried Vanessa Redgrave  

 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $17  Actual: $14

 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $50  Actual: $53

 International — Estimate: n/a  Actual: $26


 Just Wright FOX PG Common Queen Latifah  

 Opening Weekend — Forecast: $9  Actual: $8

 Domestic Gross — Estimate: $24  Actual: $21

 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.