October 9, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Based on Friday and Saturday box office (and estimated Sunday numbers), Real Steel is now looking like an opening weekend of over $27 million — $2 million more than projected yesterday.  Real Steel jumped 27% from Friday to Saturday (from $8.55 million to $10.85 million).  With a projected final domestic gross of $81 million, this film is going to have to hit massively overseas to make DreamWorks and Disney money.  (International numbers to come later today.)  The Ides of March should be headed for around $40 million domestic final, based on an opening weekend of a little over $10 million.  This weekend is looking like it will be up 4% up over the same weekend last year.      
The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the openers are headed for:  Real Steel ($81 million) and The Ides of March ($40 million). 

50/50 is holding steady at $35 million, while Courageous has been downgraded a bit to $24 million and Dream House has been upped a tick to $18 million.  What’s Your Number? is headed for a similar $15 million.  Moneyball is headed for $74 million, while Dolphin Tale was downgraded again to $74 million.  The Lion King in 3D has been downgraded again to a still fine $104 million.               

Based on Friday and Saturday actual numbers and studio estimates for Sunday, Real Steel will average $7,900 per theater (an above average mark) at 3,440 theaters (for $27.3 million from Friday-Sunday). The Ides of March will open with a surprisingly soft $4,700 per theater (somewhat below average) at only 2,199 theaters ($10.4 million).    

As expected, the second week decline for 50/50 (-34%) was far better than the Courageous decline (-50%), but both films will run out of steam very quickly as they are working with low bases of appeal.        

October 7-9, 2011                   Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

Real Steel             (DW/Dis)     $27.3             $ 81
Ides of March            (Sony)     $10.4             $ 40
Dolphin Tale               (WB)     $ 9.2   -34%      $ 74-
                (Sony)     $ 7.5   -38%      $ 74

50/50                  (Summit)     $ 5.5   -36%      $ 35

Courageous               (Sony)     $ 4.6   -50%      $ 24
Dream House              
(Uni)     $ 4.5   -45%      $ 18

The Lion King in 3D       (Dis)     $ 4.5   -57%      $104-
What’s Your Number?       (Fox)     $ 3.1   -44%      $ 15
Abduction                  (LG)     $ 2.9   -48%      $ 26
Contagion                  (WB)     $ 2.8   -42%      $ 78

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 $84 million total, up 4% from the same calendar weekend last year (when Life As We Know It and Secretariat opened) but down 3% from the average weekend the last four years.     

Top 12 Films: Weekend #40
     Volume    Movies Opening Each Weekend (millions)
2011  $ 84  Real Steel $27, Ides of March $10
2010  $ 81  Life As We Know It $15, Secretariat $13    
2009  $ 96  Couples Retreat $34

2008  $ 87  Quarantine $14, Body of Lies $13
2007  $ 84  TP Why Did I Get Married $21, We Own the Night $11
Avg   $ 87  

Next Weekend

Opening next week are Footloose from Paramount (please stop the remakes!), The Thing from Universal (again!) and The Big Year from Fox (comedy starring Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson).  Those movies will be compared to Jackass 3-D ($50.4 million opening weekend) and Red ($21.8 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.