February 12, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>The weekend studio estimates (based on Friday and Saturday actuals and projections for Sunday) are coming in significantly stronger than the weekend numbers posted yesterday (based on Friday actuals only).  The box office volume for the top 12 films is now looking like an impressive $174 million for the weekend, up a very strong 29% from last year’s disaster weekend and, even more significant, up 15% from the weekend’s average for the past four years.  Two films opened with around $40 million weekends (The Vow with $41.7 million and Safe House with $39.3 million), and two films opened with around $25 million (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island with $27.6 million and Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace in 3D with $23.0 million).  (Updated weekend numbers in the chart after the jump.)

On Friday The Vow beat Safe House by about $1.5 million ($15.325 million to $13.800 million), while on Saturday the race was very close ($16.700 million for The Vow to $16.600 million for Safe House).  But Sunday is expected to go to The Vow by a margin of almost $1 million ($9.675 million to $8.900 million).  The Vow is expected to beat Safe House by about $1.4 million for the entire weekend, although that margin could close when the final numbers are in Monday.  Either way, two very impressive openings by two nicely counter-programmed films.

As expected, Phantom Menace in 3D was incredibly front-loaded by sci-fi fans who love special effects and care little about a coasting director who specializes in recycling his direction of even great actors (Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman) toward wooden performances to match inexperienced, untalented child actors (Jake Lloyd).  For a complete look at George Lucas and his infatuation with technology at the expense of humanity in his films, read Mitch Salem’s review of the 3D re-release of Phantom Menace.  On opening night, Phantom Menace beat Journey 2 by more than $2 million ($8.650 million to $6.570 million), but Journey 2 pounded back on Saturday, winning by more than $4 million ($12.715 million to $8.550 million).  A similarly wide margin is expected Sunday ($8.265 million to $5.800 million for Phantom Menace).     

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the films opening wide this weekend are headed for:  The Vow ($116 million), Safe House ($114 million), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island ($79 million) and Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace in 3D ($63 million).    

The second week movies:  Chronicle ($71 million, adjusted up), The Woman in Black ($58 million, steady) and Big Miracle ($23 million, adjusted down). 

The third week movies have been adjusted:  The Grey ($56 million, down slightly again), One for the Money ($25 million, down slightly), Man on a Ledge ($19 million, down slightly).  In its third wide-release week, The Artist ($32 million) is holding steady.

February 10-12                      Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

The Vow                  (Sony)     $41.7             $116
Safe House                (Uni)     $39.3             $114
Journey 2 Myster. Island   (WB)     $27.6             $ 79
Phantom Menace 3D         (Fox)     $23.0             $ 63
Chronicle                 (Fox)     $12.3   -44%      $ 71+
The Woman in Black        (CBS)     $10.3   -51%      $ 58
The Grey            (Open Road)     $ 5.1   -45%      $ 56
Big Miracle               (Uni)     $ 3.9   -50%      $ 23-
The Descendants           (Fox)     $ 3.5   -23     $ 80
Underworld Awakening     (Sony)     $ 2.5   -55%      $ 65
Red Tails                 (Fox)     $ 2.4   -49%      $ 51
One for the Money          (LG)     $ 2.3   -56%      $ 25

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.  

Total Box Office Volume 

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $174 million total Friday-Sunday, up 29% from the same calendar weekend last year and more impressively up 15% from the more typical volume for this weekend in other years.            

Top 12 Films: Weekend #6

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2012  $174  The Vow $42, Safe House $39, Journey 2 $28

2011  $135  Just Go With It $30, Justin Bieber $29, Gnomeo $25
2010  $189  Valentine’s Day $56, Percy Jackson $31, Wolfman $31
2009  $163  Friday 13th $41, Confessions Shopaholic $15

2008  $118  Jumper $27, Spiderwick Chron $19, Step Up 2 $19

Avg   $151

Next Weekend 

Next weekend, Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance from Sony, This Means War from 20th Century Fox and The Secret World of Arrietty from Disney open wide.  These openings will be compared to Unknown ($21.9 million opening weekend), I Am Number Four ($19.4 million) and Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son ($16.3 million) from the same weekend in 2011.  

Look for final weekend figures Monday and international results later today

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.