June 23, 2012


Cartoons rule the multiplex.

OPENINGS:  BRAVE (Pixar/Disney), with its $24.5M Friday, had the highest non-sequel opening day for a Pixar film, beating WALL-E‘s $23.2M.  It’s a little behind last year’s Cars 2, which started out with $25.7M, but should also be less front-loaded (Cars 2 fell 9% on its first Saturday, while WALL-E went down less than 5%, and other Pixar originals have increased on their Day 2s.)  It’s on track to have at least a $70M opening weekend, which would be Pixar’s best (along with Finding Nemo and The Incredibles) apart from the mammoth Toy Story 3.

The news for the weekend’s other newcomers wasn’t nearly as good.  ABRAHAM LINCOLN:  VAMPIRE HUNTER (20th) had no constituency, and with what’s likely to be a $16 weekend, it’s headed for its own coffin.  SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Focus/Universal) didn’t find any, with $1.3M in 1625 theatres, an exceptionally bad per-theatre average on opening day below $800 that likely means a weekend that’s under $4M.

HOLDOVERS:  Despite the arrival of Brave, MADAGASCAR 3 (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) held impressively, probably down only around 40% for the weekend.  PROMETHEUS (20th) took another 50% hit (it didn’t help that its own studio threw another R-rated 3D horror movie against it), and now seems unlikely to get far beyond $125M in total US boxoffice.  SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN (Universal) is faring better with the fantasy audience, and should be down only about 40%.  Facing no direct competition in their respective genres, ROCK OF AGES (Warners) and THAT’S MY BOY (Sony) didn’t plummet, and should each be down about 45% for the weekend (although the numbers for both are so low that the slow fall won’t matter much).  The year’s biggest hits are still making money:  THE AVENGERS (Disney) and THE HUNGER GAMES (Lionsgate) should each decline less than 25% for their respective weekends, which should bring Avengers to the brink of $600M in total US gross.

LIMITED RELEASES:  Woody Allen’s TO ROME WITH LOVE (Sony Classics) got off to a fine start at 5 NY/LA theatres, with a per-theatre average that should near $80K.  That’s not quite at the level of Midnight In Paris, which debuted with almost $100K per theatre, but it’s far better than his other recent limited releases.  MOONRISE KINGDOM (Focus/Universal) expanded to 395 theatres, and its per-theatre number is starting to crack (this weekend will probably be under $10K), suggesting that while it’s doing fine as an arthouse film, it’s not going to be a breakout hit for Wes Anderson.  LOLA VERSUS (Fox Searchlight) is already done at 50 theatres, with a per-theatre for the weekend that may not reach $1000.

NEXT WEEKEND:  This was supposed to be the weekend of GI JOE 2, but Paramount pushed the movie to 2013, creating an opening.  TED (Universal), Seth McFarlane’s R-rated talking teddy bear comedy, rushed into the slot and should make short work of Steven Soderbergh’s MAGIC MIKE (Warners) and PEOPLE LIKE US (DreamWorks/Disney).  Tyler Perry’s MADEA’S WITNESS PROTECTION (Lionsgate) will draw the Madea franchise crowd, and Fox Searchlight will introduce the exceptional Sundance winner BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD into limited release on Wednesday.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."