October 16, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Based on Friday and Saturday box office (and estimated Sunday numbers), we have a photo finish for #1, with Real Steel in its second weekend probably edging opener Footloose.  As for the other openers, The Thing opened weakly, and The Big Year was a complete bomb.  After weeks of progress versus last year’s box office, this weekend crashed 34% versus the same weekend last year, when Jackass 3-D opened with $50 million.       
The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the openers are headed for: Footloose ($52 million), The Thing ($18 million) and The Big Year ($7 million). 
Real Steel has been upgraded to $94 million, as has The Ides of March to $44 million. 
Based on Friday and Saturday actual numbers and studio estimates for Sunday, Footloose will average $4,500 per theater (a slightly below average mark) at 3,549 theaters (for $16.1 million from Friday-Sunday). The Thing will open with a very weak $2,900 per theater at 2,996 theaters ($8.7 million).  An epic fail, The Big Year will average a hideous $1,500 per theater at 2,150 theaters ($3.3 million weekend).    

The second week decline for Real Steel (-40%) was fairly solid and enough to keep it (barely) in first place — but much more important provided an upgrade in its ShowBuzzDaily Domestic Final Gross.        

October 14-16, 2011                 Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

Real Steel             (DW/Dis)     $16.3   -40%      $ 94+
Footloose                 (Par)     $16.1             $ 52
The Thing                 (Uni)     $ 8.7             $ 18
Ides of March            (Sony)     $ 7.5   -28%      $ 44
Dolphin Tale               (WB)     $ 6.3   -31%      $ 75
                (Sony)     $ 5.5   -26%      $ 72

50/50                  (Summit)     $ 4.3   -24%      $ 37

Courageous               (Sony)     $ 3.4   -30%      $ 24
The Big Year       
       (Fox)     $ 3.3             $  7

The Lion King in 3D       (Dis)     $ 2.7   -41%      $102
Dream House               (Uni)     $ 2.5   -44%      $ 20

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 a really bad $79 million total, down an incredible 34% from the same calendar weekend last year (when Jackass 3-D and Red opened) and down 23% from the average number for the same weekend the last four years.  Since 2009, this weekend had been turning into a pretty good launching pad, but all that progress was squandered with sub-par to terrible movies.     

Top 12 Films: Weekend #41

     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2011  $ 79  Footloose $16, The Thing $9, The Big Year $3
2010  $120  Jackass 3-D $50, Red $22    
2009  $128  Where Wild Things Are $33, Paranormal Activity $20,

              Law Abiding Citizen $21, The Stepfather $12
2008  $ 85  Max Payne $18, W $10.5, Secret Life Bees $10.5
2007  $ 79  30 Days of Night $16, Gone Baby Gone $5.6
Avg   $103  

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Paranormal Activity 3 from Paramount, The Three Musketeers from Summit, Johnny English Reborn from Universal (action comedy starring Rowan Atkinson) and The Mighty Macs from Freestyle (sports drama starring David Boreanaz and Carla Gugino).  Those movies will be compared to Paranormal Activity 2 ($40.7 million opening weekend) and Hereafter ($12.0 million). 

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.