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Weekend Wrap-Up: Christmas Gets Scrooged

December 22nd, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster

The Christmas break got off on a soft note with all three new wide releases failing to meet expectations by substantial numbers. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies got off to a good start on Wednesday, but plummeted the next day and couldn't recover. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb failed to live up to the low end of expectations, while Annie's opening at least came close to predictions. We are still missing some numbers. Overall, the box office rose by more than 60% from last weekend to $135 million and this figure should rise a little as other numbers filter in. However, it likely won't rise by enough to match the $140 million earned the same weekend last year. I really thought 2014 would end its year-over-year slump this weekend, but alas, it was not to be. Year-to-date, 2014 has earned $9.60 billion, which is 4.6% lower than last year's pace.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opened in first place on Wednesday with $24.45 million, which is very impressive. That is the third best Wednesday opening for December in history, behind only The Two Towers and The Return of the King. Unfortunately, it fell 59% on Thursday and didn't really recover over the weekend earning $54.72 million over the weekend for a five-day total of $89.13 million. Its reviews were just above the overall positive level, so that doesn't explain the sharp drop-off. The Fanboy Effect does. It seems that after three Hobbit movies, only the hardcore fans are still excited to seem them.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb also missed expectations with $17.10 million over the weekend. This is less than a third of what Battle of the Smithsonian made during its opening weekend. Granted, even movies with mixed reviews can have strong legs this time of year, thanks to the holidays, it likely won't earn much more than half of what it cost to make. Unless it is a surprisingly strong hit internationally, it will not break even.

Annie was close behind with $15.86 million over the weekend. This was also below expectations, but not by too much. On the downside, its reviews are terrible and in just a few days, another family-oriented musical opens and Into the Woods is earning much better reviews. The only upside is Annie likely didn't cost a whole lot to make.

Exodus: Gods and Kings plummeted during its sophomore stint down 66% to just $8.11 million over the weekend for a total of $38.94 million after two. It needed to make that much in its opening weekend to have a shot at breaking even any time soon. A collapse this sharp will result in the film shedding theaters, possibly as early as Thursday.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 was the only film in the top five to beat expectations, and it was only a rounding error away from the $7 million prediction. The film pulled in $7.88 million over the weekend for a total of $289.36 million after a month of release. Using Catching Fire as a comparison, Mockingjay, Part 1 is on pace for between $330 million and $337 million. The weaker competition is helping its legs and that might put it over Guardians of the Galaxy in the end.

Top Five fell to eighth place with $3.59 million over the weekend for a total of $12.48 million after two weeks of release. I really thought with its reviews and its expanded theater count it would hold up better than this. It has matched its production budget and Christmas should give it a boost, so it isn't a total loss.

There is one more new release of note this week. P.K. opened in ninth place with $3.57 million over the weekend in just 272 theaters. It is very rare for a Bollywood film to reach the top ten here. It also did very well in its native market, earning $21.00 million in India, while worldwide it opened with $28.84 million, including openings in the U.K., U.A.E., etc.


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Filed under: Weekend Box Office, 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, Into the Woods, Top Five, P.K., The Hobbit