December 9, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf

Based on Friday’s grosses, Weekend #49 is on pace to fall below the  multi-year average for this weekend by 9% — ending a solid four-week winning streak at the box office.  One movie dared to open on one of the weakest weekends of the year (usually ranked #49 out of 52 weeks in terms of box office volume).  For the record, the prior weekend (the weekend after Thanksgiving) usually ranks #50, Labor Day weekend usually ranks #51, and the weekend after Labor Day normally ranks #52.  

Playing for Keeps from FilmDistrict opened with $2.1 million Friday and grew to only $2.4 million Saturday, putting it on pace for $6.0 million Friday-Sunday, a couple notches below the $6.5 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast issued early this week.  The opening weekend translates to a terrible $2,100 average at 2,837 theaters (compared to the $5,333 average for all wide-release films the last two years).  Critics absolutely killed the romantic comedy: currently 2% positive at RottenTomatoes.  Only 57 critics have even bothered to review the film; by the this point there would usually be around 100 reviews counted and more than 150 reviews for an eagerly anticipated movie.  One critic out of the 57 dared to be positive: Leonard Maltin, who has now cemented his reputation as a hack’s hack.  Playing for Keeps should finish with around $10 million domestic.

Weekend 49: December 7-9, 2012 ($ millions)
Pre-Wknd Showbuzz Forecast Early Weekend Estimate Actual Friday/ Sat Gross Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
Skyfall Sony [10.2] 11.0 3.1 / 5.1 290
Rise of the Guardians Par/DW [9.8] 10.5 2.3 / 4.9 86
Breaking Dawn Part 2 Sum [9.2] 9.2 2.8 / 3.9 283
Lincoln Dis [9.8] 9.1 2.6 / 4.1 132
Life of Pi Fox [7.9] 8.3 2.2 / 3.7 83
Playing for Keeps FilmDis [6.5] 6.0 2.1 / 2.4 10
Wreck-It Ralph Dis [4.6] 4.9 1.1 / 2.4 180
Red Dawn FilmDis [3.4] 4.3 1.3 / 1.9 43
Flight Par [2.9] 3.1 .91 / 1.4 97
Killing Them Softly Weins [3.1] 2.7 .88 / 1.2 19
Silver Linings Playbook Weins [—] 2.2 .64 / .97 n/a

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade.


In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.


Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like a predictably pathetic $73 million total Friday-Sunday, down 9% from the average comparable weekend the last four years and up 8% from the especially weak same weekend last year.

 WEEKEND #49 ($ millions)
Weekend Volume: Top 12 Films Top Movies Opening Each Weekend (Fri-Sun only)
2012 $73 Playing for Keeps $6
2011 $68 New Year’s Eve $13, The Sitter $10
2010 $84 Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage Dawn Treader $24, Tourist $16
2009 $87 Princess and the Frog $24, Invictus $8
2008 $82 Day Earth Stood Still $30, Nothing Like the Holidays $3
Avg 2008-11 $80

Check back later for the International Box Office update.

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.