Its the first weekend of 2013 and there is one new wide release and a previous limited release expanding semi-wide. Will either film compete for top spot? Not likely. There are some recent examples of horror films opening well in January, so Texas Chainsaw 3D could be a surprise hit, but there's also a chance it won't reach the top 5. Meanwhile, Promised Land is a message movie, but one that has limited appeal beyond those that agree with the message. This means The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will remain on top of the box office chart. If it does so, it will mean in the past nine weeks, only three films have earned first place over the weekend. 2012 got off to a strong start and last year the box office was led by The Devil Inside, which made $33.73 million. I don't think any film will make $20 million over the weekend this year, so 2013 could start off on a losing note.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey should remain on top of the box office chart for the fourth weekend in a row with between $19 million and $20 million. This should be enough for first place, but it should be very, very close.
Django Unchained appears to be on track to earn second place with between $18 million and $19 million, which means it will only need to beat expectations by a very little or see The Hobbit miss by a similar amount to earn first place. This will be enough to push it over $100 million during its run, while its performance during Awards Season will ensure strong legs.
Les Miserables will likely be right behind with between $17 million and $18 million. Likewise, it will hit $100 million during the weekend and it too will last in theaters for a while longer.
The buzz for Texas Chainsaw 3D is growing and some think it will top the box office chart with just over $20 million. That seems a bit optimistic. The reviews are nearly non-existent, but they are better than expected, so one can't dismiss the possibility of a surprisingly strong debut. Fourth place with $17 million is probably the safest bet, but there is more uncertainty here than with the other films on the list.
Parental Guidance should round out the top five with $9 million over the weekend for a total of just over $50 million after two weeks of release. This is double what it cost to make, so assuming the studio didn't spend too much on its P&A, it will break even early in its home market run.
The final "new" release of the week is Promised Land. It debuted in limited release last weekend and earned a per theater average that was good, but not great. Also, its reviews are less than good and its theater count this weekend is just 1,675. There's a chance it will miss the Mendoza Line and fail to crack the top ten. All but the most bullish analyst think it will fail to reach the top five. Realistically, it will probably have to settle for $4 million over the weekend, which will barely be enough for the top ten.
Date posted: 2013-01-04