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Friday Box Office: Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Friday Box Office: Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Another post-holiday Friday, another dismal box office report. And with the Super Bowl upon us, the weekend is unlikely to get much better.

The top ten films yesterday grossed around $22 million, compared to $31 million last year (also opposite The Big Game). This continues a trend for recent weeks for Fridays to be significantly below their counterparts in 2012. What has salvaged the weekends somewhat have been improvements for the other two days, reflecting the older audience component that has been evident since October. But that is less likely this week.

What is continuing to happen is a clear drop in interest among teens and young adults in going to the movies at anything close to normal levels on Friday. A big date night, when many avid moviegoers want to be the first to see the big opening of the week has suffered the biggest drop as new films (now through five weeks) continue to underperform overall.

The #1 film for the night was Lionsgate’s “Warm Bodies,” a PG-13 zombie romance that has gotten some decent reviews to a decent $8.1 million total. But this figure was below what two new opening films — “Chronicle” and “Woman in Black” — grossed last year (both over $8 million). The top four films last year amassed what the whole top ten did yesterday.

The other new wide release — veteran action director Walter Hill’s first time ever with Sylvester Stallone, “Bullet to the Head” (Warner Bros.)  — came in a dismal fifth. It could end up lower for the whole weekend, with a likely total gross under $5 million. Like its predecessors in failure (“The Last Stand,” “Parker,” “Gangster Squad”) it feels like the deathknell domestically for male-star driven action stars in movies aimed at the international market.

The rest of the top ten is divided between two other young-audience driven genre films (“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Mama”) which took normal drops of over 40% from last Friday, and Oscar-nominated films that held up quite well. The clear standout among these is “Silver Linings Playbook,” which added more theaters this week and was up slightly for the day in third place and a possible run at second for the weekend before things are through. Meanwhile “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” and even “Lincoln” (looking like it will return to the top ten) held well despite losing a substantial number of theaters, all falling less than a third from last Friday.

Top 10 (grosses in millions)

1. “Warm Bodies” (Lionsgate) – $8.1

2. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” (Paramount) – $2.9

3. “Silver Linings Playbook” (Weinstein) – $2.4

4. “Mama” (Universal) – $2.3

5. “A Bullet to the Head” (Warner Bros.) – $1.7

6. “Zero Dark Thirty” (Sony) – $1.6

7. “Parker” (Lionsgate) – $1.1

8. “Django Unchained” (Weinstein) – $.9

9. “Les Miserables” (Universal ) – $.7

10. “Lincoln” (Buena Vista) – $.6

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