After breaking December’s one-day opening record with $37.5 million this Friday, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has now captured the December weekend record with its estimated $84.7 million debut. That total was spread out among a giant 4,045 locations and multiple platforms (including three different 3D formats), which helped to secure An Unexpected Journey a higher debut than any of director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings features.
|| The Hobbit
|| Rise of the Guardians
|| Life of Pi
|| Breaking Dawn Part 2
|| Wreck-It Ralph
|| Playing for Keeps
|| Red Dawn
|| Silver Linings Playbook
Nine years after The Return of the King wrapped up director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Middle Earth is back. An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films Jackson based on JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit, debuted yesterday in 4,045 locations. That included 3,160 3D and 461 ‘HFR’ 3D sites and was a record launch for December. No surprise, then, that The Hobbit is set to smash many more records this month. On its first full day in theatres, An Unexpected Journey took in an estimated $37.5 million, including $13 million from 3,100 midnight premieres. That ranks as the all-time best debut for December, topping the $34.4 million The Return of the King earned on its Wednesday, 2003 premiere. Weekend projections for The Hobbit are in the $95 million range, which would easily top I Am Legend‘s all-time December record of $77.2 million. An Unexpected Journey already took in $27.2 million overseas ahead of its US debut, making a $200 million worldwide total a real possibility by the end of this weekend. We’ll have full details tomorrow.
||Rise of the Guardians
||Breaking Dawn Part 2
It’s a bit ironic that Men in Black 3 star, Will Smith, was recently quoted as saying, “I don’t want to be the sequel guy,” especially when there are a number of potential franchise sequels with him in the works. Including a possible Men in Black 4, there are also Independence Day 2, Hancock 2, Bad Boys 3, I, Robot 2 and, of course, I Am Legend 2. While some of you may be confused by Smith’s possible return in that last one, I’ll point you to the alternate ending of the original 2007 blockbuster. Hit the jump for a few snippets on sequel work from Smith and an anecdote about why he passed up the title role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Despite missing the point of Richard Matheson‘s original novel and using crummy CG, I Am Legend made $585 million worldwide because that’s just what Will Smith does. For those who missed the flick, Smith played scientist Robert Neville, the last man in a post-apocalyptic world that was taken over by mutant vampires. Back in September 2008, we reported that Warner Bros. had hired D.B. Weiss (now the co-creator of Game of Thrones) to pen the screenplay for a prequel based on input by Smith, I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence, producer James Lassiter, and co-writer Akiva Goldsman. Then the movie lapsed into development hell, and I hoped it would stay there.
But Warner Bros. has remembered the dormant project, and now they along with Overbrook Entertainment and Goldsman have closed a deal to make another installment in the franchise. Hit the jump for more.
While Alice Braga is very famous in Brazil as she’s stared in many movies in her native country, she’s started making inroads in America as she’s one of the leads in I Am Legend, Redbelt, Repo Men and Crossing Over. On top of those films, she’s the only female lead in director Nimród Antal’s Predators, as she plays Isabelle – a Brazilian SAD black ops sniper.
When I was on the set of Predators last December, I was able to participate in a roundtable interview with Braga. She talked about who she plays, training to play a sniper, what’s it like carrying around the gun, and I asked her thoughts on the two different endings to I Am Legend. It’s a great interview that you can check out after the jump:
Writer Richard Matheson has no shortage of fans and Hollywood continues to show its fascination with the author as Parkes/MacDonald Productions have optioned Matheson’s Earthbound in hopes of bringing it to the silver screen, according to THR. Parkes/MacDonald Productions recently partnered with Imagenation Abu Dhabi in October 2009, and this is the first film from the tandem. THR gives this description of the novel:
“Earthbound centers on a married man who starts an affair with a young stranger, only to realize that she may actually be the ghost of a long-dead woman driven by something much more than earthly passion.”
More after the jump:
The biggest movie of all time (in scope if not yet in grosses) has now led to the biggest weekend of all time at the box office. James Cameron’s 3D Avatar pulled ahead of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes on Saturday, claiming a second weekend at number one with an estimated $75 million from its 3,456 theatres. But there were plenty of good tidings to go around. With estimated ticket sales topping $278 million all-told, the last weekend in December turned out to be both the biggest Christmas on record and the biggest weekend of all time, surpassing that fabled frame of July 18, 2008 when The Dark Knight ruled.
||Alvin & the Chipmunks 2
||Up in the Air
||The Blind Side
||The Princess & the Frog
||Did You Hear About the Morgans?