Weekend Wrap Up: America Stays Put in Middle Earth

Last weekend, The Hobbit dominated the box office in the face of no newcomers. This weekend, even with five new releases, it didn’t really matter because The Hobbit still easily led the box office, although it’s not all good news for Peter Jackson and company.

The Hobbit

The Hobbit was still well ahead of the pack, but its 57% drop is a bit disconcerting. Although it’s hard to compare it to the original trilogy, seeing as they all opened on Wednesdays and usually a tiny bit later into December, that still doesn’t bode well. In fact, its nearly identical to the 58% that Peter Jackson’s King Kong dropped in its second weekend seven years ago. And King Kong wasn’t received nearly as well as the LOTR trilogy.

Anyway, The Hobbit still pulled in $36.7 million to lift its total just shy of $150 million. It’s well behind both Return of the King and The Two Towers through the same point, although it’s got a solid lead on The Fellowship of the Ring. The goods news is that the next week or so (with the exception of Christmas Eve) is going to be extremely lucrative for all films, and as the go-to blockbuster film, The Hobbit should do very well. I now doubt it will reach $300 million, but somewhere around $275 million seems reasonable.

Debuting in second, we have Jack Reacher. Opening to a decent $15.6 million, this is clearly not going to be a Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, but then again, no one was expecting that either. The Tom Cruise film had a modest budget of $60 million, so this will be just fine in the end. In third is another newcomer, This is 40, falling way short of Knocked Up. Just $12 million isn’t bad per se, especially since it will be the only real comedy option over the next week, and it could definitely be worse. It could always be The Guilt Trip.

Rise of the Guardians continues holding well, and this film will probably have one of its highest grossing days of its entire run on Christmas day. Down just 17%, ROTG pulled in $5.9 million. With just under $80 million, it’s still got that outside shot at $100 million. It just depends on how Christmas week goes for it. Fifth goes to Lincoln, which also held well, falling just 20%. $5.6 million gives it $117 million so far.

Sixth and seventh place go to two disappointing debuts. The Guilt Trip managed just $5.4 million, which I guess makes sense because it looked absolutely terrible and completely unfunny based on the trailers. Monsters, Inc. 3D fared even worse, grossing just $5.04 million. And that’s with the 3D added in too. Disney may have to rethink this whole 3D rerelease thing. They might want to try, oh, I don’t know, maybe making new movies?

Skyfall drops from fourth to eighth, mostly because of all the newcomers. Down 28%, Bond made $4.7 million this weekend. It’s just a shade under $280 million now and making up ground on Breaking Dawn Part II. With The Hobbit disappointing a bit, there is now the very real possibility that 007 might end up as the highest grossing film of the last quarter of the year.

Life of Pi dropped 30% to $3.8 million. A $76 million debut ain’t too shabby. Spending its last weekend in the top ten, the Twilight franchise is finally about to say goodbye. BDP2 fell 49% to $2.6 million. Its $281 million total puts it just ahead of the pace of New Moon, so it will probably end up as the second highest grossing entry in what has been a remarkably consistent franchise. Bye bye Twilight. Hellooooo The Hunger Games!

This time of year lends itself to movies debuting on some strange days. Namely, Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, so three films are opening on Christmas day, along with one expansion to wide release. Nothing is actually opening on next Friday, so in lieu of standard predictions, I’ll just preview the films.

Parental Guidance: How in the hell this film is getting released in over 3000 theatres is a secret to everybody. I guess it is going to be pretty much the only family film option, but still. It has a 17% at Rotten Tomatoes, which is actually a little better than I expected.

Django Unchained: The D is silent. I am one of Quentin Tarantino’s biggest fans. The man is simply a genius and there is no one that makes films like he does. This looks positively vintage Tarantino, and the whole cast, especially Leonardo Dicaprio, look like they’re having a lot of fun. Plus, the reviews are glowing: a 92% at RT. I really want to see this do well.

Les Miserables: The most hyped film of the Christmas season, but its 71% at RT has got to be a bit disappointing. Nonetheless, I really doubt its fans will care. And the hype machine is in full effect anyway. I fully expect this to be the highest grossing Christmas day opener.

And, finally, The Silver Linings Playbook, expands into nationwide release after hanging out in the bottom rungs of the top ten for weeks. It’s done pretty well in limited release, so I think it could definitely surprise some people when it expands.

So, that’s that. The next week is very exciting for any and all box office analysts, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’ll be back next Sunday to wrap it all up. Until we meet again.

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