March 25, 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 a soft $206 million for the weekend, up 89% from last year’s weekend and up 81% from the weekend’s average for the past four years.  A $206 million weekend is similar to the multi-year average for the third weekend in July, traditionally the biggest-volume weekend of the year.

Of course, all this business is being paced by The Hunger Games, now expected to gross $155 million its first three days, representing an enormous 75% of all box office this weekend.  If the $155 million opening holds, this will be the third biggest opening of all time and the biggest non-sequel opening ever and the biggest opening in March or the first third of the year (January, February, March or April) ever.     

Highest Opening Weekends — All Time

                           Opening    Release     Final
                           Weekend     Date      Domestic
Harry Potter and Deathly    $169.2   7.15.2011   $381.0
 Hallows Part 2
The Dark Knight             $158.4   7.18.2008   $533.3

THE HUNGER GAMES            $155.0   3.23.2012  

Spider-Man 3                $151.1   5.04.2007   $336.5
Twilight Saga: New Moon     $142.8  11.20.2009   $296.6
Twilight Saga: Breaking     $138.1  11.18.2011   $281.3
 Dawn Part 1

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the films opening wide this weekend are headed for: The Hunger Games ($403 million).

The second week slate: 21 Jump Street ($129 million, adjusted up from last week’s estimate).

Third week:  John Carter ($76 million, back down to the first week estimate). 

The fourth week movies:  Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($210 million, slight downward adjustment) and Project X ($57 million, adjusted down slightly).

March 23-25                         Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

The Hunger Games           (LG)     $155              $403
21 Jump Street           (Sony)     $21.3   -41%      $129+
The Lorax                 (Uni)     $13.1   -42%      $220
John Carter               (Dis)     $ 5.0   -63%      $ 76
Act of Valor              (Rel)     $ 2.1   -45%      $ 71
Project X                  (WB)     $ 1.9   -52%      $ 57
A Thousand Words          (Par)     $ 1.9   -47%      $ 15
Safe House                (Uni)     $ 1.4   -49%      $130 
Journey 2 Myster. Island   (WB)     $ 1.4   -43%      $103
This Means War            (Fox)     $ 1.0   -53%      $ 55

Total Box Office Volume 

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like a phenomenal $206 million total Friday-Sunday, up 89% from the same calendar weekend last year and up 81% from the more typical volume for this weekend in other years.              

Top 12 Films: Weekend #12

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2012  $206  The Hunger Games $155

2011  $109  Diary Wimpy Kid Roderick Rules $24, Sucker Punch $19
2010  $117  How Train Dragon $44, TP Why Get Married Too $29
2009  $139  Monsters vs Aliens $59, Haunting in CT $23

2008  $ 90  21 $24, Superhero Movie $10
Avg   $114

Next Weekend            
Opening wide next weekend are Wrath of the Titans from Warner Brothers and Mirror Mirror from Relativity.  These films will be compared to Hop ($37.5 million opening weekend), Source Code ($14.8 million) and Insidious ($13.3 million).

Check back later today for our update on international 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.