Friday Box Office: FROZEN Takes First From THE HOBBIT 2; New Releases Struggling

     December 28, 2013

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We’ve seen five new releases in three last three days, but not one of them are playing for first place this weekend.  In fact, only one of them made it into Friday’s top five (The Wolf of Wall Street), and two of them missed the top ten altogether.  The real action this weekend is between blockbuster holdovers The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Frozen.  Estimates put Disney in front on Friday, though it looks like Bilbo may still be able to pull off a third weekend on top of the domestic box office.  Here’s a look at the top ten, as of Friday’s estimates.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Frozen $10,254,000 $229.8
2.  The Hobbit 2 $10,110,000 $170.5
3.  Anchorman 2 $7,143,000 $71.1
4.  American Hustle $6,400,000 $46.8
5.  The Wolf of Wall Street $6,257,000 $22
6.  Saving Mr. Banks $4,721,000 $28.5
7.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $4,540,000 $17.1
8.  Catching Fire $3,400,000 $384.3
9.  47 Ronin $3,400,000 $14.1
10.  Walking With Dinosaurs $2,500,000 $16.1

Details after the jump.

We don’t usually provide a top ten list for Friday, but this weekend is just too busy to cut in half.  And, to be honest, the top ten probably isn’t comprehensive enough – it leaves out the new releases Grudge Match and Justin Bieber’s Believe.

Clearly, neither pic is doing well.  Warner Bros. reports that Grudge Match brought in an estimated $2.42 million on Friday from its 2,838 locations, or a total of $8.54 million since its Christmas opening.  The Bieber documentary is only playing in 1,037 locations, but its estimates have still been horrible: going from $1.25 million on Christmas Day down to $790,000 on Friday. Compare that to the $1 million+ that the Bollywood action movie Dhoom 3 earned last Friday (from 239 locations!), and you get a sense of how far Bieber has fallen since his Never Say Never prime.

the-wolf-of-wall-street-poster-1Moving from the losers to the big winners, it looks like The Hobbit sequel will, in fact, match its predecessor’s three-week run on top of the domestic box office.  Projections for the three-day weekend put Smaug at just over $30 million – a drop of just 1% from its sophomore frame.  An Unexpected Journey was down 13% at the same point last year.

Friday’s biggest surprise was the resurgent power of Disney’s Frozen.  Now entering its sixth weekend, the Thanksgiving release pulled off a surprise win with an estimated $10.2 million.  Like The Hobbit 2, Frozen is expected to bring in about $30 million this weekend, up from $19.6 million one week ago.  There have been other films that have jumped by 50% or so on the last weekend of the year, like 2010’s Gulliver’s Travels, but none of them had been around as long as Frozen when they did it.  If the animated film stays in first place through Sunday it would make for a very happy New Year for Disney.

Aside from the close race between The Hobbit 2 and Frozen, Friday also saw nearly identical estimates from The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle.  Both films look like they will finish this weekend with around $19 million.  That’s in line with pre-release expectations for  The Wolf of Wall Street, but would mark a major victory for American Hustle, which took in $19.6 million on its first weekend in wide release.

On Christmas Day it looked like new releases The Secret Life of Water Mitty and 47 Ronin were both finding their audiences.  But, two days later, neither seems poised for success.  In place of the $19 million that Fox was hoping for, it looks like Walter Mitty will close its debut weekend with around $14 million.  Universal’s 47 Ronin should top $10 million for the three-day frame, and $20 million for its first five days.  If it makes the studio feel any better, that’s a little better than I thought Ronin would do.

We’ll have more details on this weekend’s box office tomorrow.

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