January 15, 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 very similar to the weekend numbers posted yesterday (based on Friday actuals only).  Contraband is leading the pack, but the 3D re-issue of Beauty and the Beast should have slightly better legs in the long run.  Joyful Noise is not a real factor at the box office.  The three-day weekend is looking like $114 million for the top 12 films, about even with last year’s weak number and down 20% from a typical three-day frame this time of year.  We concentrate on three-day, Friday-Sunday performance each weekend so that weekends can be compared against on equal terms.  Also, our model for ultimate domestic final numbers is built around three-day performance and drop-offs each week, with Monday-Thursday performance factored in on a second pass.  Others report the higher four-day numbers (the studios certainly do not object to that) on weekends like this, but we choose to focus on the three-day for methodical, consistent analysis of the data.   

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the films opening wide this weekend are headed for:  Beauty and the Beast 3D ($86 million), Contraband ($70 million), Joyful Noise ($32 million) and The Iron Lady ($20 million).

The two films that opened or expanded wide last weekend were adjusted downward somewhat:  The Devil Inside ($52 million) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ($26 million).  The Devil Inside‘s drop of 77% this weekend puts it in the top 10 fall-offs (looking at films in 1,000+ theaters), right around the drop for the equally-horrifying Jonas Brothers: 3D Concert Experience (-77.4%) and From Justin to Kelly (-77.0%).  The king of all wide-release drops remains the Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez masterpiece Gigli (-81.9%). 

January 13-15                       Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

Contraband                (Uni)     $24.1             $ 70
Beauty and the Beast 3D   (Dis)     $18.5             $ 86
Mission: Impossible 4     (Par)     $11.5   -42%      $223 
Joyful Noise               (WB)     $11.3             $ 32
Sherlock Holmes 2          (WB)     $ 8.4   -39%      $190
The Devil Inside          (Par)     $ 7.9   -77%      $ 52
Girl Dragon Tattoo       (Sony)     $ 6.8   -40%      $110

Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 (Fox)     $ 5.8   -39%      $127
War Horse              (DW/Dis)     $ 5.6   -35%      $ 86
The Iron Lady           (Weins)     $ 5.4   +2954%    $ 20
We Bought a Zoo           (Fox)     $ 5.2   -37%      $ 80
Adventures of Tintin   (DW/Dis)     $ 4.0   -41%      $ 81
Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (Foc)     $ 3.2   -42%      $ 26  
The Descendants           (Fox)     $ 2.0   -21%      $ 57 

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 $114 million total Friday-Sunday, down 1% from the same calendar weekend last year and down a more significant 20% from the typical volume for this weekend in other years.          

Top 12 Films: Weekend #2 (FRIDAY-SUNDAY ONLY)

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2012  $114  Contraband $24, Beauty Beast 3D $18, Joyful Noise $11

2011  $115  Green Hornet $33.5, The Dilemma $18  
2010  $157  Book of Eli $33, Lovely Bones $17, Spy Next Door $10
2009  $165  Paul Blart $32, My Bloody Valentine $21 Notorious $20

2008  $132  Cloverfield $40, 27 Dresses $23, Mad Money $8

Avg   $142

Next Weekend 
Next weekend, Underworld Awakening from Sony, Red Tails from 20th Century Fox and Haywire from Relativity open wide.  These openings will be compared to No Strings Attached ($19.7 million opening weekend) 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.