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Weekend Predictions: Battle of the Three Armies

December 18th, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster

For most, this weekend represents the beginning of the Christmas break, so it comes as no surprise that there are three potentially big hits coming out this week. I'm a little surprised none of them are getting overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is earning the best reviews of the week, but its Tomatometer Score is barely above 60%. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has been floating around 50% positive all week, while Annie is being destroyed by critics. This weekend last year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned first place for the second weekend in a row. Meanwhile, the new releases were less impressive, as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues earned second place with $26.23 million and Walking with Dinosaurs landed in the lower half of the top ten. The depth this year won't be as strong, but I still think 2014 will finally end its slump and win in the year-over-year comparison.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the final film in the Hobbit trilogy. This trilogy didn't live up to its predecessor, either in terms of box office numbers or in terms of critical appeal. By comparison, this film is earning 61% positive reviews, while The Return of the King earned 95% positive reviews. That said, the film's box office changes are still very strong. It earned more than $11 million in midnight showings on Tuesday and many believe it will cross $100 million during its five-day opening. I'm predicting $101 million over the five-day weekend, including $65 million from Friday through Sunday.

Another trilogy comes to an end this weekend as Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb makes its debut on Friday. The first two installments of the franchise earned nearly $1 billion worldwide, but neither of them were hits with critics. In fact, at around 50% positive, Secret of the Tomb is the best in the series. It won't be the biggest hit in the franchise, on the other hand. The buzz has it earning about $25 million over the weekend, more or less. Likely "more" is more likely than "less", but I'm going with $25 million. Thanks to the holidays, it should have the legs necessary to get to $100 million, but that will still be lower than the previous two films made.

The final wide release of the week is Annie, which is the second theatrical adaptation of the musical stage show. The first adaptation came out in 1982, but only earned mixed reviews. I was hoping this film will fix the problems of the first film, but that is not the case. In fact, its reviews are barely 20% positive, which makes its one of the worst wide releases of the fall. Even so, it is a family friendly film opening on the first weekend of the Christmas break, so there's a chance it will still be a hit. Best case scenario has the film being competitive for second place. Worse case, it and Exodus are in a battle for third place. I think the higher end is more likely than the lower end and I'm going with $18 million over the weekend. It is not unheard of for a film to get to $100 million after an $18 million opening in December, but it will be tricky. Fortunately, it likely didn't cost that much to make, so it won't need to get to $100 million to break even.

Exodus: Gods and Kings will very likely be pushed from first to fourth with $11 million over the weekend. It is the first weekend of the holidays, but its reviews are weak and the direct competition is strong.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 will round out the top five with $7 million or so. Even if there were no holidays, this would be enough to keep it on pace for $300 million. With the holidays, it still has a chance of catching up to Guardians of the Galaxy for the biggest hit of the year.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Annie, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Night at the Museum, The Hobbit