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Weekend Box-Office Analysis (June 1-3, 2012)

Coming off one of the worst Memorial Day weekend frames at the box-office in the last ten years, the movies held on better than expected over this post-holiday weekend. Thanks to a strong #1 opener, the Top 12 dropped just 7.4% from last weekend and amassed $135.5 million, losing in comparison to 2011 for the third time in a row. The combined Top 12 gross was down 11.8% from the same weekend last year when X-Men: First Class opened on top with a very similar opening to this weekend’s #1 film Snow White and the Huntsman. While the weekend was strong in general, a great discrepancy could once again be seen between the top performers and the rest. Three movies made more than $20 million this weekend, but no other movie could even hit $5 million over the three-day period.


As already mentioned, the second take on the Snow White legend, Snow White and the Huntsman captured the top spot with the 4th-best opening weekend of this year so far, taking in $56.3 million. It averaged $14,910 per theatre at 3,773 venues. It has always been pretty clear which of the two Snow White films would win the box-office crown in this race. Relativity’s Mirror Mirror has taken in $62.5 million so far, a number that Snow White and the Huntsman will pass within the next 2-3 days. With the outcome being an easy guess, it is still impressive how easily Universal’s film will top Mirror Mirror. For Universal, Snow White and the Huntsman means the 10th-biggest opening weekend ever. Only The Avengers ($207.4 million), The Hunger Games ($152.5 million) and Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax ($70.2 million) opened better this year. After Battleship’s resounding disappointment, Universal needed a hit and Snow White looks set to become one.

However, as solid as this start may be, it might just not be the type of big breakout that Universal might have been hoping for when they cast Twilight’s Kristen Stewart in the leading role, gave it a prime release spot and poured a lot into the film’s marketing. Universal was certainly trying to make a large-scale fantasy film that would heaily appeal to females through its strong heroine (and her Twilight fame), while not scaring off the male demographics by offering them enough action to satisfy their appetite. However, only 53% of the weekend’s audiences were made up of females, a significantly lower number than expected. One must also not forget the films hefty price tag, though. At $170 million it still has a long way to go to recoup what Universal has spent on it. Mixed reviews and generally unimpressive word-of-mouth (it scored a “B” at CinemsaScore) won’t facilitate the film’s longevity at the box-office. Universal was hoping for this movie to become a big fantasy event and to kickstart a new franchise for them. While it still might happen (if the overseas box-office plays along), it is far from a sure thing. Snow White and the Huntsman should finish with around $160-170 million.


Coming in second, Men in Black 3 held surprisingly well given the fact that it was coming off the inflated holiday weekend and should be suffering natural frontloading due to the film being a sequel in a popular franchise. Dropping just 46.3%, it collected $29.3 million over the weekend which put its total gross at $112.3 million. It is now just around $3 million behind MIB2 over the same timeframe. Good word-of-mouth and seemingly no direct competition plays the key roles in the film avoiding a 50+% drop. After ten days the film is tracking around $8 million ahead of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian at the same point. That is remarkable considering the nearly identical openings for both films over their respective Memorial Day weekends. Its drop was also better than that of MIB2 which declined over 53%. Well, what does the future hold for it in store? Despite good reception and its appeal at older audiences thanks to the franchise’s age, it will face fierce competition next weekend when Prometheus and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted will target various demographics. While the latter will steal its families, the former will go for its young adults. On top of that, both will hurt its 3D theatre count with Prometheus taking a toll on its IMAX screens as well of which it will most likely lose the majority. It should recover the following weekend and then cruise well into July. At this point the $225 million movie actually stands a chance of beating the predecessor’s total gross ($190.4 million), though it needs another surprisingly good hold like this weekend. Right now it’s on course towards a $180-190 million finish which is better than most thought it would be capable of. Will Smith is back as the unchallenged box-office king of North America!


The Avengers slid down another notch to #3 as it posted yet another remarkable weekend. After losing 44.7% of its audiences, the comic book adaptation behemoth garnered $20.3 million over the weekend for a running total cume of $552.7 million. That is a better post-Memorial day weekend drop than Spider-Man’s which lost 49.8%. The film’s durability is incredible given its tremendously huge opening weekend. Its fifth weekend also stands as the 4th-biggest ever, only behind Avatar, Titanic and The Sixth Sense. What makes it even more impressive is that those three films had a holiday on their fifth weekend which boosted the grosses whereas The Avengers is actually coming off a holiday weekend. As of Friday, The Avengers passed The Dark Knight’s unadjusted domestic total ($533.3 million), making it not only the biggest comic book adaptation ever Stateside, but also the 3rd-biggest movie of all-time domestically – and that by its fifth weekend on release!

Spider-Man went on to make another $50 million following this weekend. However, it was coming off a fifth weekend $6 million smaller. The Avengers WoM is simply terrific and its incredible success made it a media phenomenon which just further increased its must-see status among moviegoers. Even though it is down to #3 of the box-office at the moment, it is still the big must-see movie out there right now and that alone will help its further legs too. Obviously the duo of new releases next weekend will hurt it due to them taking away some of its 3D screens, but I expect it to hang in there well thanks to its WoM. There is a good chance that The Avengers will reach $600 million by he end of the month, making it only the third movie in history to make it past that mark. Beating Titanic’s first-run gross has become a non-issue. The question is now how close it can get to Titanic’s gross including the recent 3D re-release ($658.6 million). It is definitely a very tough one to crack and would require several more exceptional holds along with some of this month’s openers severely disappointing. At this point $610 million is a lock for The Avengers with its most likely final gross range being around $615-630 million. Anything more requires a lot of luck.


Down one spot to #4, Battleship dipped another 56.5% to $4.8 million and a $55.1 million total gross after 17 days on release. It is a pathetic number for the $209 million film with which Universal so obviously tried to emulate the success of the Transformers movies. Sure, the overseas number ($235 million and counting) is solid for a movie lacking the 3D premium, but the domestic performance is pitiful and will see the movie finishing even below this year’s Act of Valor ($70 million). A failure of this magnitude is always hard to grasp, but it is fair to assume that The Avengers’ breakout played a major role in it as it stole the thunder from all other movies released the first couple of weeks after it came out. It simply didn’t leave any room for other movies that audiences could be interested in. Battleship will soon start shedding screens and theatres very quickly. Its current trajectory should bring the alien-invasion flick to $64 million – even less than last year’s Battle: Los Angeles ($83.6 million).


The Dictator took the fifth spot this weekend with $4.7 million (down 49.7%) and a $50.8 million total after 19 days in theatres. While Paramount execs might have hoped for more with their $65 million comedy, given the “C” CinemaScore it is certainly a decent outcome.  With no comedy competition next weekend I can see another decent hold before That’s My Boy delivers it a hard blow the weekend after. Right now The Dictator is around $6.5 million behind Bruno after the same number of days, but given Bruno’s terrible late legs, I expect it to catch up pretty quickly and ultimately finish ahead of Bruno’s $60.1 million total with around $62 million in the bank.


The crowd-pleasing ensemble dramedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continued to post great numbers for Fox Searchlight. Despite adding just 61 new theatres this weekend, the film delivered the best hold in the Top 10 (down 27.9%) and climbed two spots to #6 of the chart. A $4.6 million weekend brought its running total to $25.5 million as the film has already entered Fox Searchlight’s all-time Top 25. At this point The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has all the makings to become this summer’s sleeper hit akin to last year’s Midnight in Paris which finished with $56.8 million despite never playing in more than 1,038 theatres. The WoM on the movie is terrific and its appeal to old demographics will keep it afloat for a while and will make it stand out among the summer’s blockbusters crop. It is definitely aiming at Fox Searchlight’s all-time Top 10 with a $40-50 million final tally being the likely outcome.


After a disappointing start, What to Expect When You’re Expecting actually managed to recover a little. Holding on to the 7th spot in its third outing, the Lionsgate comedy dropped 37.9% to $4.4 million. Its current gross stands at $30.7 million. I expect it to end up with around $43 million which is decent by itself, but still a letdown given its strong cast.


The 8th spot of the weekend went to Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows which dived 48.6% to $3.9 million, bringing its total to $70.8 million. That would actually be a solid number for a dark gothic adaptation of a daytime daily soap. However, given Johnny Depp’s involvement, Tim Burton’s track record and the film’s inexplicably enormous $150 million budget it is too small of a figure. It doesn’t have much gas left in the tank either as I expect it to leave most theatres within the next three weeks, making room for new openers. In expect it to crawl to $80 million before all is said and done.


Dropping four slots to #9, Chernobyl Diaries delivered the weekend’s worst hold in the Top 12 as it decreased 61.7% to $3 million. With $14.4 million in the bank the low-budget horror movies has already turned into profit for Warner Bros., though. Prometheus should annihilate it next weekend, though, leaving with to finish with $19 million.


The Mexican 143 minutes epic For Greater Glory opened to terrible reviews at 757 locations this weekend where it averaged $2,378 per theatre. That gave it a $1.8 million opening weekend in the 10th spot of the box-office. I don’t expect it to stick around for long, though. It should see a $4 million finish.


In its 11th week, The Hunger Games finally dropped out of the Top 10, down to #11. After losing 35.1% of its audiences, the surprise blockbuster added another $1.5 million to its total bringing it to $398.3 million. A final cume above $400 million is inevitable now and could happen as soon as next weekend. The question is just how far beyond it will go. If it manages to top Spider-Man’s $403.7 million, it will become the 6th-biggest non-sequel/prequel ever in North America, putting the Harry Potter and Twilight series to shame. It will all depend on how long it can keep its screens for. Right now I see it ending up with around $403 million, though it could really go either way.


Last weekend’s #12 film Bernie remained in the same spot this weekend. The indie comedy starring Jack Black added another 108 theatres bringing its theatre count to 302 venues. That helped it increase another 10% to $0.9 million. Its running total stands at $3.7 million. Considering how well it has performed so far and that it will likely add more theatres in the upcoming weeks, I see a $8-10 million total is very possible.


The most impressive performance outside of the Top 12 comes once again from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Playing in 16 theatres in its sophomore frame, the highly acclaimed quirky comedy grossed around $0.85 million for a PTA of $53,063 which is just unbelievable. Its running total amounts to $1.7 million after ten days. It looks at this point like a $30+ million finish is a sure thing.

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