September 29, 2012


After three tough weekends with 20-25% declines versus prior years, the 39th weekend of 2012 is looking like $101 million for the Top 12 films Friday-Sunday, up 13% from the same weekend last year.  Sony opened two films to two completely different segments: Hotel Transylvania opened very well to kids and families, while Looper opened decently to mostly male sci-fi fans.  The holdovers are not doing spectacular business, but the momentum from the top two films injected some much needed excitement at the nation’s theaters.     

Hotel Transylvania from Sony/ Columbia opened with $10.9 million Friday and is on pace for $39.5 million Friday-Sunday (assuming a strong 3.6 multiple from Friday to entire weekend given the heavy kid and family traffic during the day Saturday and Sunday).   This opening weekend is substantially better than the $23.5 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast issued earlier in the week and translates to a very good $11,800 average at 3,349 theaters (well ahead of the $5,333 average for all wide-release films the last two years).  Hotel Transylvania should leave theaters with a $136 million total domestic gross.  Sony has created a solid asset that should provide solid returns as a franchise going forward.

Looper from Sony/ TriStar opened with $6.8 million Friday and with a very standard 2.8 Friday-to-weekend multiple is on track for $19.1 million Friday-Sunday, extremely close to the $19.5 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast.  The sci-fi thriller’s opening weekend should average a decent $6,400 at 2,992 theaters, and Looper should finish with about $59 million total in North America.

Weekend 39: Sep 28-30, 2012 ($ millions)
Pre-Wknd Showbuzz Forecast Early Weekend Estimate Actual Friday Gross Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
Hotel Transylvania Sony/Col [23.5] 39.5 10.9 136
Looper Sony/Tri [19.5] 19.1 6.8 59
End of Watch Open Road [7.5] 7.6 2.4 48
Trouble with the Curve WB [7.1] 7.5 2.3 43
House at the End of the Street Relativity [5.9] 6.9 2.3 32
Pitch Perfect Universal [2.7] 4.9 1.7 26
Finding Nemo 3D Disney [4.6] 4.0 1.0 50
Won’t Back Down Fox [5.5] 2.8 .92 6
Resident Evil: Retribution Sony [3.0] 2.8 .81 40
The Master Weinstein [3.0] 2.6 .78 19
Dredd 3D Lionsgate [3.0] 2.2 .68 14

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade.


Pitch Perfect from Universal should average a great $14,600 this weekend at a platform count of 335 theaters.   The estimated $4.9 million opening weekend is way ahead of the $2.7 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast.  Pitch Perfect should end up with about $26 million total after it expands around North America.

In contrast, Won’t Back Down from 20th Century Fox opened with a horrible $0.92 million Friday and is on pace for $2.8 million Friday-Sunday (well below the $5.5 million ShowbuzzDaily forecast).  The opening weekend for the Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis drama translates to a painful $1,100 average at 2,515 theaters.  Won’t Back Down will leave theaters quickly with a $5 or $6 million total domestic gross.

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


Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are looking like a very solid $101 million total Friday-Sunday, up 13% from the same weekend last year and up a similar 12% from the average comparable weekend the last four years.

($ millions)
WEEKEND #39 Weekend Volume: Top 12 Films Top Movies Opening Each Weekend
2012 $101 Hotel Transylvania $39, Looper $19, Pitch Perfect $5
2011 $90 Courageous $9, 50/50 $9, Dream House $8
2010 $86 Social Network $22, Case 39 $5, Let Me In $5
2009 $92 Zombieland $25, Toy Story 3D $12, Invention of Lying $7
2008 $95 BH Chihuahua $29, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist $11
Avg 2008-11 $91

Check back tomorrow morning for updated weekend figures and revised estimates for domestic final 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.