Weekend Box Office: Truly the Fairest of Them All

The year’s second ‘Snow White’ flick may have looked worlds better than the first (the atrocious ‘Mirror Mirror’), but nobody – not even the studio – expected it to fair as well as it did. On this, its first weekend, it became the fourth highest opening of 2012 behind ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘The Lorax’.

Expected to pull in $39.8 million, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman‘ actually made $56.2 million. That poisonous apple ‘Mirror Mirror’ couldn’t diminish the ‘Snow White’ draw. It also didn’t hurt that the movie drew in the geek audiences of both ‘Twilight‘ and ‘Thor‘/’The Avengers’ by casting Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth. Pouring salt on the wound, Box Office Mojo points out that ‘Snow White’ made more in its opening weekend than ‘Battleship’ has during its 17-day haul.

Men in Black 3‘ also fared better than Sony expected. It dropped only 46%, not the predicted 52%, and added another $29.3 million to its $112.3 million 10-day total. As of now, ‘MIB3’ is halfway to matching its $225 million production budget (which some speculate is actually closer to $300 million).

The Avengers‘ is still moving along well, landing the #3 spot with another $20.2 million. The film has now grossed $552.7 million domestically. ‘Battleship‘, however, keeps sinking. In its third weekend, the “bored” game-based movie only drew $4.8 million. With a production budget of $209 million, ‘Battleship’ has only brought in $55.1 million.

Rounding out the Top 5 was ‘The Dictator‘ with $4.7 million, and closing out the Top 10 was the historical drama ‘For Greater Glory‘ with $1.8 million.

Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom‘ continues to stay strong. Week two of this platform release expanded to another 12 screens (16 in total), adding $849,000, which gives it a strong $1.7 million run so far. Its per-screen average was also still high at $53,060. The platform release should bring it to a few hundred additional screens over the next few weeks.

Of the other limited releases, ‘Piranha 3DD‘ made the most with $179,000. Since it opened concurrently with a Video-on-Demand release, it will be interesting to see how much this movie makes in total. The $2,081 per-screen average of ‘Piranha 3DD’ is exceptional compared to that of ‘High School‘, which only tallied $403 per-screen. On 200 screens, ‘High School’ brought in only $80,600. But ‘A Cat in Paris‘ opened better than either of those two, with $36,100 on six screens (a $6,017 per-screen average).

Top 10:

1. ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ (Universal) – $56,255,000

2. ‘Men in Black 3’ (Sony) – $29,300,000

3. ‘The Avengers’ (Buena Vista) – $20,273,000

4. ‘Battleship’ (Universal) – $4,810,000

5. ‘The Dictator’ (Paramount) – $4,725,000

6. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ (Fox Searchlight) – $4,600,000

7. ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ (Lionsgate) – $4,430,000

8. ‘Dark Shadows’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,860,000

9. ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,045,000

10. ‘For Greater Glory’ (Arc) – $1,800,000


  1. “Pouring salt on the wound, Box Office Mojo points out that ‘Snow White’ made more in its opening weekend than ‘Battleship’ has during its 17-day haul.”

    There is hope after all.

  2. JM

    Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ opened overseas to a stellar $35 million from only 15 markets, nearly matching the $39.3 million grossed by ‘Snow White’ from its 45 territories.

    ‘Prometheus’ — also starring Theron, as well as Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender — handily beat ‘Snow White’ in the U.K. ($10 million versus $5 million), the only market where the two movies went up against each other.

    The Hollywood Reporter seems concerned that ‘Snow White,’ with its $175M budget, won’t be able to reach the $430M it needs to break even. It might not even make past ‘Battleships’s $300M total.

  3. Snow White was pretty damn awesome, loved it from start to finish and I’m glad it did so well, Prometheus will probably whoop it next weekend.

    it amazes me what they spend to make movies these days, WHY would MIB3 cost $300 million to make? Avengers cost less and has far better FX, did they spend $100 mill on Will Smith’s salary? Battleship cost $200 some mil to make too and I just cant figure out where all this money is going to, Transformers had better FX than Battleship and it cost less to make. Hollywood needs to get back to putting more into the script and creatively using a smaller budget, they would make so much more money if they kept putting out $80 million hits, these budgets are getting out of control and its really starting to hurt them.

    The overseas market seems to be the place to really do anything anymore, if it fails in the US (like Battleship) it does really awesome overseas (a movie like Battleship shouldnt do good anymore though ;))

    • EM

      A lot of my favorite movies are my favorite movies because they cost less than they “should”. Not that I pore over film budgets. But it seems that lower budgets spark greater creativity—necessity is the mother of invention. Well, OK—not always, for I’ve seen quite a few low-budget stinkers. But while throwing money at a production may stave off fiscal bankruptcy, it’s no cure for creative bankruptcy.

    • JM

      Parkinson’s Law says that film budgets will always expand to fully absorb the capital available, whether or not the extra cash results in higher-quality or better-selling product.

      Wall Street treats Hollywood movies the same way it treats mortgage assets. Firms package slates of films into securities that they resell to investors.

      The average rate of return is 15%. Hits can pay back 23% – 28%.

      With so much money from outside investors, studios spend less of their own cash on each film, while still taking a 10% distribution fee off the top, which they don’t share with the banks.

      Blockbusters receive 60% – 80% of their funding from outside sources, which lowers the risk for the studios, but increases the carelessness of the Hollywood players playing the Hollywood game.

      If ‘John Carter’ is packaged with ‘The Avengers’ and 15 other films, no one cares about the success of any one movie as long as the total rate of return is higher than the 10% of an average stock market mutual fund.

      Scripts only turn out well if they survive the gauntlet.

  4. August Lehe

    Here I am off-topic once again, but I’m going nuts trying to order Blu Rays individually. Amazon keeps stacking them up in groups of five or ten. I think the offer of the credit card is part of the problem. I ALWAYS use AMEX!
    I don’t want another card! Sorry to be a pain!

    • Have you emptied your shopping cart of all but one item and completed the check-out process? Why are you trying to order multiple discs individually? I don’t think I understand what you’re trying to do.

      I think this would be better discussed in today’s Blu-ray post.

    • EM

      I keep thinking you have an itchy clicking finger. Don’t double-click, let alone quintuple-click or decuple-click. If your browser is slow, try to be patient while the next page loads. Even if the shopping cart ends up showing more of an item than you want, you can always adjust the quantities at that point.