Weekend Predictions: Clear Skies for Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster

There are four noteworthy releases this week, although a couple of them are opening in limited release and expanding wide over the next couple of weeks. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug expected to be the biggest hit of the month, but not as big as An Unexpected Journey. Meanwhile Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas should be solid as counter-programming and better legs than most Tyler Perry. This weekend last year, An Unexpected Journey opened with $84.62 million. Most expect The Desolation of Smaug to miss that figure, perhaps by more than $10 million. However, the second best film last year was Rise of the Guardians, which only made $7.14 million. 2013 likely won't be as strong at the top, but it will certainly have better depth.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the follow-up to An Unexpected Journey, which opened this time last year. An Unexpected Journey's reviews were good, but below expectations. Worldwide, it managed $1 billion, which is fantastic. The Desolation of Smaug is earning better reviews; however, only a few people think this film will live up to those numbers. On the high end, it could open with more than Journey did, with weaker legs. On the low end, it might struggle to get to $70 million during its opening weekend and run out of steam after getting past $200 million. I'm going with $82 million and decent legs.

There's almost no point in talking about Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. Tyler Perry films have their fanbase and they almost never reach beyond those boundaries. There is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is negative. Normally this would be a really bad sign for a wide release, but again, fans of Tyler Perry's previous movies haven't been scared off by bad reviews, so this likely won't matter. This film could become only the third film in Tyler Perry's writing / directing career to reach $30 million, but I think it will fall just short with $29 million.

Frozen should have a solid hold over the weekend. Granted, there's quite a bit of competition, but none of the wide releases are aiming exactly at its target demographic. Additionally, its reviews are amazing, so its legs should be just as good. It could earn just over $20 million over the weekend, but just under $20 million is more likely.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire should slide to $13 million, but that still keeps it on pace to reach $400 million by the time its run is over.

Out of the Furnace failed to make much of an impact during its opening weekend and it might get pushed out of the top five this weekend. It is expected to earn about $2.5 million, which should be enough for fifth place. However, Thor: The Dark World should also make about $2.5 million and might steal fifth place.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-12-12