Friday Box Office: THE HOBBIT Continues to Dominate; JACK REACHER Solid in Second; THIS IS 40 in Third

     December 22, 2012


‘Tis the season for lots of movies, fa la la la… oh, you know the rest. Always a crowded period, this holiday season saw Hollywood’s major releases packed into just a seven day span – leaving The Hobbit plenty of room to grow into a blockbuster. Part one of Peter Jackson’s trilogy ended its first week with $113.2 million in the US, and added another $10.1 million (estimated) to that total yesterday. Despite an onslaught of new titles – including Jack Reacher and This is 40 on Friday – An Unexpected Journey is expected to stay on top until Christmas Day, when Les Miserables has a chance to unseat it.

Here’s a look at Friday’s top five:

Title Friday Total
1.  The Hobbit $10,170,000 $123.3
2.  Jack Reacher $5,100,000 $5.1
3.  This is 40 $3,700,000 $3.7
4.  Rise of the Guardians 41,566,000 $75.3
5.  The Guilt Trip $1,493,000 $3.5

jack-reacher-posterIt’s no secret that the weeks surrounding Christmas are among the most lucrative in the film industry. They are also a time when normal box office laws are suspended: movies become big hits without a big opening gross (We Bought a Zoo) and Friday ceases to be the only day worth debuting on. In fact, two of this weekend’s new offerings opened on Wednesday: The Guilt Trip and Monsters, Inc. 3D. The Guilt Trip debuted in second place with around $1 million, followed by Pixar’s revamped classic with $779,000.

Sony Pictures’ limited run of Zero Dark Thirty also opened this past Wednesday in just five theatres. In its first two days alone the R-rated drama earned $229,000, or $45,800 per theatre. That’s not a record for a limited release (The Master made over $48,000 in one day in five locations earlier this year), but it is an impressive number for a non-Friday, indie debut. Cirque de Soleil: Worlds Away began its own limited run on Friday, and is expected to take in just over $2 million in its first weekend.

Back in the wider end of the release pool, both Jack Reacher and This is 40 squeezed into theatres on Friday. Based on author Lee Child’s popular protagonist, Jack Reacher debuted in second place with an estimated $5.1 million from 3,352 locations. At this point, Paramount is expecting the PG-13 title to earn about $16 million through Sunday – significantly under earlier projections. That may seem like a disappointment for a Tom Cruise vehicle; but if Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol taught us anything, it’s that – at Christmastime – it’s all about the multiples.

Finally, Judd Apatow is back with the R-rated feature This is 40, a loose follow-up to the director’s 2007’s comedy Knocked Up. This is 40 earned an estimated $3.7 million from 2,912 locations on Friday and is expected to stay in third place (with around $12 million) through the pre-Christmas weekend.

We’ll have full details and the top ten tomorrow.

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