For all the Oscar hype, moviegoers are voting with their feet this MLK weekend for a more straightforward entertainment bang for their buck. Mama is set to win the weekend by a large margin, with Universal estimating a $28.1 million three-day weekend and about $33 million over four days. With the film playing in a relatively modest 2,647 theaters, that translates into a per theater average of $10,625, comfortably ahead of any other wide release. Jessica Chastain has dual reasons to celebrate, with Zero Dark Thirty set to finish second for the weekend with $17.6 million. Fellow Oscar-hopeful Silver Linings Playbook will be third with about $11.35 million over three days in its first weekend in wide release.
The weekend's other wide openers disappointed. Broken City will place 5th with $9 million from 2,620 locations. That's not a complete disaster, but clearly on the low end of what Fox will have been shooting for. The Last Stand, meanwhile is even more disappointing, earning just $6.3 million from 2,913 venues for an average just a shade over the $2,000 benchmark.
Among Oscar hopefuls, Argo seems to be getting something of a second look, as it jumps 94% this weekend to $2.44 million. With a per theater average over $3,000, it might actually pick up a few more theaters. Amour continues to build an audience, and is the only film to top Mama on the per theater chart so far; it will post about $410,000 this weekend from 36 theaters. Life of Pi is up 26% this weekend and will top $100 million in total on Monday or Tuesday. And finally, The Impossible gets some love with $2.5 million, flat from last weekend while adding a few more theaters.
Only one other new release has reported numbers so far. LUV is headed for a modest $90,000 opening from 45 theaters for Indomina Releasing.
Bruce Nash firstname.lastname@example.org
Date posted: 2013-01-20