The Lord of the Rings franchise is one of the most massive, and consistent, we’ve ever seen. Even the controversial decision to make The Hobbit into a new trilogy didn’t affect An Unexpected Journey last year, which managed to join its brethren by inching over the $300 million barrier. However, the lukewarm reception of that entry did clearly affect The Desolation of Smaug, which even after just one weekend, is almost certain to end up as the lowest grossing Lord of the Rings film, as well as the first to fail to crack $300 million.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Not even the sexy voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular dragon Smaug could make up for what many fans thought was a disappointing first chapter in The Hobbit trilogy. The Desolation of Smaug opened to $73.7 million, which is down about $11 million from An Unexpected Journey a year ago. That’s still not a bad gross, but it just doesn’t live up to what you’d expect from a LOTR movie. Like all its predecessors, opening around Christmas-time will give it good legs, and there’s the possibility that a number of people who skipped TDOS because of a snowstorm this weekend will catch up later. So, that said, TDOS could still end up with around $270 million.
Frozen continues its great run, slipping just 30% to $22.2 million. With Christmas fast approaching, this flick should play great over the holidays and considering it already has $164.4 million in the bank, $250 million remains a very real possibility. I’m really happy for this film and I’m pulling for it to outgross Gravity, which I will take every excuse I can to hate on. This sequence from Frozen is more emotionally gripping and visually stunning than the entirety of Gravity. But if haven’t seen the movie yet, maybe wait until you do to watch that clip. Context goes a long way.
Third place goes to A Madea Christmas, which opened to a disappointing $16 million. That’s good news for people who don’t like Madea movies, as this could be the nail in the coffin, but it’s bad news for my fantasy box office prospects. Yes, fantasy box office is a thing. You should do it. Anyway, given the Christmas setting and all, this flick might have better legs than prior Madea movies, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Catching Fire continues its erosion, and will barely be relevant enough to truly benefit from yuletide boosts. That said, Katniss dropped 50% and grossed $13.2 million. With $357 million in total, it might actually have to fight a bit to outgross the original, but I still think Catching Fire will finish around $415 million. The bottom six of the top are all pretty uninteresting, as nothing even made over $3 million.
Thor:The Dark World grossed $2.7 million, down 44%. At $198.1 million, $200 million is finally within its grasp. Out of the Furnace followed up a disappointing opening with a steep drop, falling 56% to $2.3 million, giving it just $9.5 million through ten days. Delivery Man pulled in $1.9 million after dropping 50% and has now amassed $28 million. I still have no idea what Philomena is, but it held well, slipping 20% to $1.8 million. $11 million in total for that flick.
In ninth, The Book Thief dropped 36% to $1.7 million, and this one has just failed to gain any traction, as it has a total of $14.9 million. Homefront rounds out the top ten, falling 52% to $1.6 million. An $18.4 million total seems about right for a Statham flick. Next weekend, things heat up, at least in terms of depth, as we get two new openers (Anchorman and Walking with Dinosaurs) as well the expansions of two award hopefuls (American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks). Christmas is always a fun time of the year at the box office and this year should be no exception. Until we meet again.