Weekend Wrap-Up: Smaug Descends on Box Office

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug poster

It's a good news / bad news weekend at the box office. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned first place with ease earning the fourth biggest December opening weekend of all time. On the other hand, it was a little weaker than expected opening on the low end of predictions. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas also underperformed by a significant degree, which didn't help the overall box office. The overall box office rose 59% to $147 million, which seems like a huge amount, till you realize last weekend was the weekend after Thanksgiving, which is historically one of the worst weekends of the year. If there wasn't a massive jump at the box office, it would have been fatal for the month. This was also higher than the same weekend last year, albeit by a smaller margin of 6%. Year-to-date, 2013 is still ahead of 2012, but by less than 0.5% at $9.90 million to $9.85 million.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opened on the low end of predictions with $73.65 million As already stated, this is the fourth best December opening weekend, so the studio should still be happy, despite missing bullish expectations. The reviews were a step up from the previous installment's reviews and with some of the Fanboy effect alleviate, the film's legs should be strong.

Frozen landed in second place with $22.57 million over the weekend for a total of $164.77 million after four weeks of release. After three weeks of wide release, Tangled had $115 million and finished with just a hair over $200 million. Frozen should at least earn another $85 million like Tangled did, while it could earn an additional $125 million or more by the time its run is over.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas was next with $16.01 million during its opening weekend. This was the worst debut for a Madea movie ever and third worst for Tyler Perry as either a director and third worst as a star. The reviews are among the worst in the filmmaker's career and even with the holidays, it might not have strong legs.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire lived up to expectations with $13.67 million lifting its total to $357.50 million after four weeks of release. It took a big hit, in part because it lost its IMAX screens to The Desolation of Smaug, but its per theater average is strong enough that it could remain in saturation level release right till the first weekend in January.

Thor: The Dark World managed one more weekend in the top five with $2.82 million over the weekend for a total of $198.25 million after more than a month in theaters. By this time next week, it will top $200 million, while it is north of $600 million worldwide. Unless it cost a lot more to make and advertise than the first film, it will break even really soon, if it hasn't already.

Out of the Furnace was knocked out of the top five with $2.43 million over the weekend for a total of $9.57 million after two. Its per theater average is a mere $1,155, so it will lose theaters at an accelerated pace at this point, especially with so many films opening / expanded over the next ten days or so.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-12-16