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Weekend Box Office Dec.30- Jan.1 ("Pariah" Opens Strong In Limited Release)

Box Office
by Sergio
January 1, 2012 1:51 PM
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Pariah movie

Of most importance to us is how Pariah did this weekend in its limited opening engagements, and we'll get to that in a second.

But first, no surprise, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was No. 1 again this weekend, bringing the franchise and Tom Cruise's career back to life, pulling in over $300 million worldwide to date. 

Other films, like Sherlock Holmes and We Bought A Zoo increased their box office totals significantly, and War Horse opened strongly as well.

But Pariah did extremely well in its very limited platform release this weekend, making almost $81,500 in only 4 theaters nationwide. The film expands to more theaters on January 6th, and strong word of mouth and solid reviews should help it pull in some solid numbers.

Here's this weekend's list:

1) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol Par$31,250,000 Total: $134,139,000
2)Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows WB $22,095,000 Total:$132,100,000
3) Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Fox $18,250,000 Total:$94,609,000
4War Horse BV $16,940,000 Total: $42,969,000
5The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Sony $16,300,000 Total:$57,100,000
6) We Bought a Zoo Fox $14,300,000 Total:$41,787,000
7)The Adventures of Tintin Par. $12,000,000 Total:$47,841,000
8) New Year's Eve WB (NL) $6,741,000 Total:$46,372,000
9) The Darkest Hour Sum. $4,300,000 Total:$13,200,000
10)The Descendants FoxS $3,650,000 Total:$39,675,000
11) The Muppets BV $2,588,000 Total:$82,456,000
12Hugo Par. $2,525,000 Total:$49,539,000
13) Young Adult Par.  $2,200,000Total:$12,167,000
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  • Orville | January 2, 2012 6:13 PMReply

    I don't know why people are arguing about the box office? The point is the Shadow and Act editors are correct Pariah did indeed gross over $81,000 dollars since the movie was released. The movie is a black lesbian film which is rare to even get distribution by a big studio like Focus Features. Why can't people just be happy that a black LGBT film is in the theatres and will be expanding to more markets very soon? People have complained on this site that there is a narrow representation of blackness in cinema. Now Pariah arrives I think people should be happy about it. I sincerely hope more black LGBT movies reach a wider audience and not just be stuck in queer film festivals. I wonder if that E Lynn Harris movie is ever going to be made?

  • Orville | January 2, 2012 6:06 PMReply

    I wonder if anyone knows if Pariah will be released in Toronto? I think this is wonderful news that a black lesbian movie is doing so well at the box office! I believe more LGBT entertainment iis important. The director of Pariah is doing a great thing here expanding the stories about the black experience. I also like that Kim Wayans is in Pariah and I heard she did an excelllent job

  • Miles Maker | January 3, 2012 7:51 AM

    Hello ORVILLE!

    PARIAH will have a Canadian release courtesy of distributor & Focus Features partner Alliance Films: so stay tuned--and thanks for supporting PARIAH!

  • Miles Maker | January 2, 2012 12:28 PMReply

    Watching PARIAH's 4-day average climb to $16,275. The Holiday week from Christmas to New Year's definitely affected ALL box office numbers but this critically-acclaimed movie won't be denied! @NorthstarPics on twitter

  • Dui Jarrod | January 1, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    This is GREAT!!!! And is amazing for the cast and crew of the film!!! Looking forward to catching the film myself.

  • BeyondTrix | January 1, 2012 7:27 PMReply

    I wish Shadow and act would have reported objectively. Pariah did good business. At the end if the day it made the same as I Will Follow and Gun Hill Road pretty much. It was in between them by just a few hundred dollars. A quick Google shows that Gun Hill road made $12,600 on each screen in the three theaters it started in, I Will Follow made $11,800 in the five theaters in started in and Pariah made $12,300 in the four theaters it started in. I think the most fascinating part besides the tricks on this blog is that these independent black movies make practically the same whether it is a studio like Focus Features putting it out, a grassroots group like AFFRM putting it out or a small distribution place like Motion Group that did Gun Hill Road. The money spent on it don't matter it seems like. The audience who will see small movies and not just Tyler Perry is the root of it.

  • Imani | January 1, 2012 9:38 PM


    Thanks for that information.

  • LeonRaymond Mitchell | January 1, 2012 6:31 PMReply

    Please ignore the Haters check out the numbers and do your own scale Pariah is out grossing most films, take a look at their budgets take a look at their cast of other films and I'm sorry Pariah is killing it with the numbers, if most films (Black films with Black cast ) did as well we would not be in the shape we are in as far as Blacks films being a thing no one wants t0 touch. Iron Lady -please star cast Tinker Taylor -star cast, this film is doing good biz right up there with Ava DuVernay's projects I see a flat out champion and 10 times the better story and direction than Precious , Gun Hill Road even wishes they had these numbers , at some point you have to see the over all picture -this film will long long legs !!!!

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 9:29 PM

    Hello BEYONDTRIX very informed observations! I did the same homework myself and will continue to evaluate and compare release marketing strategies for further insight as well as future strategy.

    What's most compelling here is the studio approach vs. AFFRM, and in Gun Hill Road's case it was Motion Film Group at In AFFRM's case, they executed an embedded grassroots campaign--tapping into local entities, orgs and interest groups. PARIAH has had a much stronger social media presence and considerable major media attention, yet it won't capitalize on this added exposure in 3 cities and 4 theaters (although the expansion to San Diego, DC, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Seattle this week will tell us more). MFC executed a grassroots campaign for Gun Hill Road as well, which included advance screenings and local street teams within their theatrical footprint. The fact we're seeing similar performance numbers suggests the significant of star power moving forward, and although we Love to introduce emerging talent to the world, it's absolutely essential we tap into the wealth of Hollywood Actors of color at our disposal as many are more often than not eager to consider independent projects. This doesn't mean we must stack the deck or pursue unaffordable talent in unrealistic scenarios, but we must give our films a fighting chance to do MORE than we're seeing thus far from 2011's preeminent Black indies if we aspire to make movies with higher production value and budgets.

  • J | January 1, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    Loved Pariah. Good luck to Dee Rees & her team.

    Oh there is a typo in the third line it should be "increased" instead of incresased.

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 5:15 PMReply

    See you in San Diego, DC, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Seattle this week! @NorthstarPics

  • ANONYMOUS | January 1, 2012 3:59 PMReply

    "Numbers don't lie, people lie" - Mo Better Blues

    For obvious reasons, Sergio's number is inflated: Pariah only grossed $49, 700 on it's opening weekend. The film played in 4 theaters and had a per screen average of $12, 495. The total gross of the film thus far is $81,400.

    Source Box Office Mojo:

  • Reg | January 1, 2012 6:15 PM

    Numbers don't lie. Pariah averaged over $12,ooo per screen. That's impressive to me, for the kind of film that it is. Fuck what Iron Lady did. It has Meryl Streep in it. Different kind of film, different audience. I'm not sure what your objective here is Anonymous. Take a look at the list of films on Box Office Mojo's weekend list and tell me how many other films are averaging that number or higher per screen. Beejezus!

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 5:24 PM

    Numbers don't lie. Visit this link and look for the highlighted films which are singled out for exceptional performance:

    'Success' is subjective. If you spent $100mil to make your movie, then $81K in 5 days is considered dismal. However, if your movie cost less than $500K to make, you're in GOOD shape when you make $81K in 4 theaters! Get it?? If people are expecting PARIAH to make the top 10 when the top 20 films show in 2000+ theaters nationwide (vs 4 for PARIAH) you simply don't understand what these numbers mean in relation to YOUR movie. It doesn't take an MBA to process what I'm saying here. The fact PARUAH made this list at all is an accomplishment in itself.

  • ANONYMOUS | January 1, 2012 4:06 PM

    Not faring as well was Focus Features' release of Dee Rees's "Pariah." On four screens, the drama grossed $49,695, avaraging $12,424. Since opening Wednesday, "Pariah" has grossed $81,386.

    Focus noted that the film's audience was primarily female (80%) and 52% were under 35. The audience was also ethnically diverse with 45% African-American‬, 35% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic‬ and 11% Asian‬.


  • DKay | January 1, 2012 3:10 PMReply

    IW is posting contradictory assessments on "Pariah." Another post "Holiday B.O." with the Iron Lady lead in suggests that Pariah "was not faring as well" compared to other limited releases. Here, you write that it did "extremely well." Which is it??

  • Sergio | January 2, 2012 9:41 AM

    "The problem is Shadow and Act's journalistic favoritism..."

    Like DUH! Guilty as charged. This is after all a website devoted to black film and media in case you haven't noticed. Of course we're biased, and especially me, when it comes to superior well made films like Pariah. YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT??????????

  • ANONYMOUS | January 1, 2012 11:09 PM


    It's not Mile's fault. The problem is Shadow and Act's journalistic favoritism and poor reporting. Miles is just doing damage control. (A poor job of damage control.) But damage control nonetheless.

  • MBA-Guy | January 1, 2012 10:58 PM


    No need for apologies or "hugz". Keep up the good work!

  • upsetting | January 1, 2012 10:52 PM

    it is upsetting that the girls who did pariah handle theirselves with class but their promoter is mean to commenters who disagree. you said to leon raymond that pariah had "much stronger social media presence and considerable major media attention" than gun hill road or i will follow which i disagree. im a fan of all of these films. i saw more on i will follow for longer online and on tv and radio stations: tom joyner, rickey smiley, monique and what not. gun hill road did better than pariah. you should not blame it on anything or be rude to this guy who has a different opinion. you should be classy like dee rees and adepero oduye and accept that the film did just as good as the others: no more and no less.

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 10:09 PM

    An MBA from NBC Universal proves you're completely out of your element in this conversation and likely know nothing at all about independent film--let alone Black independent film or much less Black LGBT independent film, so you're hereby excused of your ignorance MBA-GUY. I'm so sorry for being so abrasive toward you! *hugz*

  • MBA-Guy | January 1, 2012 9:22 PM


    I got my MBA at NBC Universal.

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 7:07 PM

    And no MBA-Guy you cannot and should not compare PARIAH to other KGBT films distributed by Focus. You would then have to compare number of theaters, time of year, talent draw, P&A spend and numerous other factors--where where did YOU get your MBA?

    At the end of the day, comparing films is an intricate process despite the fact NO 2 FILMS ARE THE SAME even within the same genre. This business is far more complex than that, and by the sound of things, perhaps you should stay out of the film business if you value food, clothing & shelter in 2012.

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 7:02 PM

    Hello MBA-Guy

    Are you also aware that all of the producers have already recouped their investment and all services rendered have been settled? If Focus Features takes a loss, that's their business (as is their method & strategy for spending prints & advertising, aka P&A) but it's a huge win-win for the filmmakers in terms of reach, exposure and fan acquisitions for future projects. No, this is not a sprint--it's a marathon business.

    Speaking of future projects--Dee Rees recently completed her script for Focus Features called BOLO which was part of the PARIAH deal (a blind script deal with the distributor). Dee is also working with HBO on a TV series with Viola Davis to star. When considering your entire body of work toward a long illustrious career in this business, I would be tickled pink to be distributed by a major distributor with A+ buys with a LGBT-themed Black film on the box office charts without a single star it standing proud with the big boys.

    These filmmakers have officially arrived!

  • MBA-Guy | January 1, 2012 6:23 PM


    No hate intended. However, you are not comparing Apples to Apples. The cost of the film has nothing to do with the P&A spent by the distributor. What matters is how Pariah's opening weekend compares to other LGBT films distributed in a platform release by Focus Features.

  • Reg | January 1, 2012 6:18 PM

    You're right, it's not faring as well as Iron Lady which has a superstar in it in Meryl Streep and a recognizable subject in Margaret Thatcher. If that's what you're comparing it to, which wouldn't make sense. Compare it to other indie features with zero recognizable names, director, and black LGBT themes, that have opened in similar fashion and let's have a conversation then.

    It did do extremely well for the film that it is.

  • Miles Maker | January 1, 2012 5:22 PM

    Numbers don't lie. Visit this link and look for the highlighted films which are singled out for exceptional performance:

    'Success' is subjective. If you spent $100mil to make your movie, then $81K in 5 days is considered dismal. However, if your movie cost less than $500K to make, you're in GOOD shape when you make $81K in 4 theaters! Get it?? If people are expecting PARIAH to make the top 10 when the top 20 films show in 2000+ theaters nationwide (vs 4 for PARIAH) you simply don't understand what these numbers mean in relation to YOUR movie. It doesn't take an MBA to process what I'm saying here.

    PARIAH had the 3rd highest per theater average of ANY and ALL films in release--behind Meryl Streep's Iron Lady and Sony Picture Classics' $9mil foreign hit A Separation (now released in the US).

    Don't hate--appreciate!
    *SUPPORT* Black film. @NorthstarPics

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