September 11, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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>Based on Friday and Saturday box office (and estimated Sunday numbers), Contagion is #1 and is headed for a final of about $74 million.  The other openers were either quiet or stillborn.  The Help, now #2, nonetheless has been upgraded to a domestic final estimate of $174 million.  The weekend overall is now looking like it will be up marginally from this weekend last year.      

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates now show that the openers are headed for:  Contagion ($74 million), Warrior ($25 million), and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star ($2 million).  The Debt is holding steady at $36 million, as is Apollo 18 at $15 million and Shark Night 3D at $16 million.  Colombiana is still headed for $41 million, along with Our Idiot Brother at $31 million.  The Help has been upgraded yet again to an extremely good $171 million.             

Based on Friday and Saturday actual numbers and studio estimates for Sunday, Contagion will average $7,200 per theater at 3,222 theaters (for $23.1 million from Friday-Sunday).  Warrior opened with a weak $3,000 average at a low 1,869 theaters ($5.6 million).  Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star will average a woeful $967 at 1,500 theaters ($1.45 million for the weekend).   

The fifth week decline for The Help (-40%) was a more normal number (although the final estimated gross was increased again), and the other declines for the holdovers were in the normal range for each genre.      

September 9-11, 2011                Wknd     vs     Showbuzz
(millions)                         Studio   Last    Domestic
                                    Proj.   Wknd     Final* 

Contagion                  (WB)     $23.1             $ 74
The Help               (Dis/DW)     $ 8.7   -40%      $171+

Warrior                    (LG)     $ 5.6             $ 25
The Debt                (Focus)     $ 4.9   -51%      $ 36

Colombiana               (Sony)     $ 4.0   -46%      $ 41

Rise of Planet of Apes    (Fox)     $ 3.9   -51%      $183
Shark Night 3D            (Rel)     $ 3.5   -58%      $ 16
Apollo 18                (Wein)     $ 2.9   -67%      $ 15
Our Idiot Brother        (Wein)     $ 2.8   -49%      $ 31

Bucky Larson             (Sony)     $ 1.5             $  2

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.  

Limited Releases 

Opening this weekend on the indie circuit (partial results to come):

— Laugh at My Pain (concert) averaged $20,800 at 96 theaters
— Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (foreign) at 75 theaters
— My Kingdom (foreigh) at 21 theaters
— Love in Space (foreign) at 16 theaters
— Shaolin (foreign) at 9 theaters
— Tanner Hall (drama) at 5 theaters
— The Black Power Mix Tape: 1967-1975 (documentary) at 2 theaters
— The Whale (documentary) at 2 theaters

Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like $66 million total, up 1% from the same calendar weekend last year when Resident Evil: Afterlife opened and down 11% from the typical total for this weekend the last four years.   

Top 12 Films: Weekend #36
     Volume     (millions)

2011  $ 66  (
-9% vs 2007-10 average; +1% vs 2010) 

Avg   $ 73            Movies Opening That Weekend
2010  $ 66  Resident Evil: Afterlife $27    
2009  $ 76  TP’s I Can Do Bad $23, 9 $11, Love Happens $8
2008  $ 86  Burn After Reading $19, Family That Preys $17
             Righteous Kill $16, The Women $10
2007  $ 64  The Brave One $14, Mr Woodcock $9, Dragon Wars $5

Next Weekend

Opening next week are I Don’t Know How She Does It from Weinstein, Drive from FilmDistrict, Straw Dogs from Sony, and Lion King (in 3D) from Disney.  Those movies will be compared to The Town ($24 million opening weekend), Easy A ($18 million), Devil ($12 million) and Alpha and Omega ($9 million).  

In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.  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.