August 21, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>Based on Friday and Saturday box office (and estimated Sunday numbers), The Help is the pick of the litter, down an impressive 21% from last weekend’s opening.  All the openers are pretty much stillborn.  The weekend overall is now looking like it will be down 3% from this weekend last year.    

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the openers are headed for:  Spy Kids: All the Time in the World ($30 million), Conan the Barbarian ($27 million), Fright Night ($23 million), and One Day ($13 million).  The Help has been upgraded substantially to $131 million, while Final Destination 5 is still on pace for $47 million, 30 Minutes or Less for $40 million and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie for $14 million.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes has been upgraded a touch to $181 million, while The Change-Up is still on track for $38 million domestically.             

Based on Friday and Saturday actual numbers and studio estimates for Sunday, Spy Kids 4 will average a below average $3,648 per theater at 3,295 theaters (for $12.0 million from Friday-Sunday).  Conan the Barbarian opened with a $3,317 at 3,015 theaters ($10.0 million).  The horror Fright Night will average a lame $2,537 at 3,114 theaters ($7.9 million for the weekend), and One Day (from Focus/ Universal) will average a sub-par $2,983 at 1,719 theaters ($5.1 million for the weekend).   

The second week decline for The Help (-21%) is truly outstanding, very solidly in the top 10% of all movies the past two years..      

August 19-21, 2011                  Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

The Help               (Dis/DW)     $20.5   -21%      $131++
Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)     $16.3   -41%      $181

Spy Kids 4               (Wein)     $12.0             $ 30
Conan the Barbarian        (LG)     $10.0             $ 27
The Smurfs               (Sony)     $ 8.0   -42%      $143
Fright Night              (Dis)     $ 7.9             $ 23
Final Destination 5        (WB)     $ 7.7   -57%      $ 47
30 Minutes or Less       (Sony)     $ 6.3   -53%      $ 40 
One Day                   (Foc)     $ 5.1             $ 13

Crazy, Stupid, Love        (WB)     $ 4.9   -30%      $ 80
Harry Potter 8             (WB)     $ 4.4   -39%      $375
Cowboys & Aliens          (Uni)     $ 4.2   -46%      $101

Note: The table above summarizes the weekend as of Sunday.  The first column (on which the table is sorted) displays the “studio projection” for each film, based on the Friday and Saturday actual numbers (and a studio-supplied estimate of Sunday).  The second column is the percent decline from the prior weekend.  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total Gross for the film’s complete run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade.  

Limited Releases 
Opening this weekend on the indie circuit, nothing distinguished itself:
Amigo (drama) averaged $4,000 at ten theaters
Mozart’s Sister (foreign) averaged $4,714 at seven theaters
5 Days of War (action drama) averaged $3,200 at two theaters
Flypaper (crime comedy) at two theaters (no data yet)
Programming the Nation? (documentary) at one theater (no data yet)

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are now looking like $107 million total, down 3% versus the same calendar weekend last year when Vampires Suck, Lottery Ticket and Piranha 3D opened (wow, what an opening weekend from hell to match this one).  

 Top 12 Films: Weekend #33
     Volume     (millions)
2011  $107  (
+8% vs 2007-10 average; -3% vs 2010) 

Avg   $100
            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $110  Vampires Suck $12 Lottery Ticket $11 Piranha $10    

2009  $112  Inglorious Basterds $38, Shorts $6, Post Grad $3
2008  $ 89  The House Bunny $14.5, Death Race $13
2007  $ 89  Mr Bean’s Holiday $10, War $10, Nanny Diaries $7.5

Next Weekend
Opening next week are Columbiana from Sony, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark from FilmDistrict, and Our Idiot Brother from Weinstein.  Those movies will be compared to Takers ($20.5 million opening weekend), Last Exorcism ($20.4 million) and Avatar: Special Edition ($4 million). 

To see the original Weekend Predictions click here.  International numbers will be posted as soon as possible, and Monday we will have official numbers for the Friday-Sunday domestic grosses.

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.