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Sunday, April 20, 2014



Christmas Weekend Wrap-Up

This year, Christmas fell on a really awkward day and compounded with the smart decision for some studios to close the entire week, dealing with the weekend box office numbers is a little trickier this year. We are still stuck with a mixture of final numbers and studio estimates, but since we won't get absolute final numbers till likely January 2nd, we should at least talk about the numbers we have. We won't be able to compare the full weekend to last week or last year, because we don't have the full weekend numbers. But since most of the films failed to match expectations, things look grim.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey didn't hold on as well as predicted falling 56% according to studio estimates to $36.94 million over the weekend for a total of $150.10 million after two. It should get to $250 million in the end, which is a solid number given the film's production budget. However, it's not a monster number, and many thought it would be a monster hit. Explaining why this happened will take some time, but the weaker than expected reviews is a good place to start. Another possible reason is just too much hype.

Jack Reacher got off to an okay start with $15.6 million during its first weekend of release. The reviews fell to just 60% positive, so it likely won't have fantastic legs, compared to the average for this time of year. It might still match its production budget, meaning if it can do as well internationally, it should still have a shot at profitability sometime on the home market.

This is 40's reviews fell to just over 50%, which is acceptable, but nothing more. Likewise, its opening weekend haul was $11.58 million. Acceptable, but nothing more. Its international box office potential is weaker than most films, as humor doesn't translate as well as action does. That said, its production budget was just $35 million, so it should break even sooner rather than later.

Rise of the Guardian continues to have amazing legs with $5.9 million over the week for a total of $79.69 million after five. Because it has a Christmas theme to it, the film will likely collapse very quickly from now on, but it is still a success overall.

Lincoln remained in the top five with $5.53 million over the weekend for a running tally of $116.67 million. It is a success financially and critically, the only question now is how many major awards will it win.

The Guilt Trip missed the top five with $5.39 million over the weekend for a total opening of $7.42 million. Its reviews are weak at just 37% positive, but as a safe family offering, I was expecting more than this.

Likewise, Monsters, Inc. should have performed better than $4.77 million / $6.26 million. Its reviews are incredible and most critics either liked the 3D or at least didn't think it hurt the film, but I guess moviegoers have grown tired of 3D re-releases. Depending on how well the 3D Blu-ray sells on the home market, this could mean the 3-D re-releases are going to be a thing of the past, or they will be much more limited in the future. For instance, Top Gun is getting a 3-D re-release ahead of its 3D home market debut, but only on IMAX. This might be a wiser choice for studios.

The final new release of the weekend was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. It missed the top ten with $2.25 million. Granted, it was playing in only 840 theaters, so it wasn't a complete disaster. It's managed to earn 55% positive reviews, which isn't bad, but isn't good either. Perhaps it will break even sometime on the home market. Or perhaps it will work as an extended ad for the many Cirque du Soleil live shows.

As for Christmas Day, Les Miserables led the way with $18.11 million, which is a record for a musical on Christmas day and the second best Christmas opening day of all time. This is about double what I was expecting. Granted, its reviews are good, but at 73% positive, they are way lower than expected and should be low enough to keep it out of contention for major Oscar nominations. On the other hand, on buzz alone it might earn several nominations in the more prestigious categories, while it should do well on the technical side.

Django Unchained actually did better than expected with $15.01 million on Christmas day. Its reviews slipped to 89%, but that is still amazing and among Quentin Tarantino's best. It should be enough to help the film reach $100 million with ease, especially if it can earn some Oscar love.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was pushed into third place on Christmas day with $11.3 million giving it a running tally of $168.3 million.

Parental Guidance did better than expected, earning fourth place with $6.32 million. This is a great start for a family film like this and even though its reviews are just 18% positive, it should still have good legs. Almost all family films that open on Christmas day do well in the long run and assuming it didn't cost a lot to make, then it should break even sometime on the home market.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-12-27

Movies 
 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
 Jack Reacher
 This is 40
 Rise of the Guardians
 Lincoln
 The Guilt Trip
 Monsters, Inc.
 Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
 Les Miserables
 Django Unchained
 Parental Guidance