Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT 2 Back on Top on 2013′s Final Weekend

by     Posted 355 days ago

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug pulled off a narrow victory over Disney’s Frozen on 2013’s final frame, making it just the second title of the year to spend three weeks on top of the domestic box office.  Smaug now equals the Christmas run (by ranking at least) of An Unexpected Journey, the first installment in The Hobbit trilogy.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit 2 $29,850,000 $190.3
2.  Frozen $28,845,000 $248.3
3.  Anchorman 2 $20,150,000 $83.6
4.  American Hustle $19,550,000 $60
5.  The Wolf of Wall Street $18,510,000 $34.3
6.  Saving Mr. Banks $14,020,000 $37.8
7.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13,000,000 $25.5
8.  Catching Fire $10,200,000 $391.1
9.  47 Ronin $9,870,000 $20.5
10.  A Madea Christmas $7,400,000 $43.7

the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-posterBox office pundits have been hard on The Hobbit 2 – “trails its predecessor” is the phrase that was used most often.  And while its true that Smaug has not caught up to the grosses of Journey, the fact that it managed to stay at number one for three straight weekends is an achievement of note.  The only other movie to three-peat in 2013 was Gravity, though Lee Daniels’ The Butler came close over the four-day Labor Day period.  The Hobbit 2 should hit the a worldwide total of $500 million after this weekend’s international updates come in.

By virtue of rank, The Hobbit takes pride of place this weekend; but a bigger story sits in second place.  Frozen, Disney’s Thanksgiving hit, surprised many by overtaking Smaug (and a ton of new releases) on Friday.  There was even a chance that the animated film would win the weekend and, as you can see, it did come achingly close.  Frozen was up over 46% from last weekend, a remarkable hold for a film in its second weekend, let alone its sixth. Today’s estimate gives Frozen the second-best sixth weekend in box office history (between Avatar and Titanic) and its domestic total makes it 2013’s seventh biggest title… for now.  At this rate, Frozen could make it to the top five by the end of the year.

Standing in the shadow of the holiday’s blockbuster holdovers (including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which made it back into the top ten after dropping out last weekend) were a ton of new releases.  Too many, as it turns out.  Only The Wolf of Wall Street distinguished itself – though it, too, opened in the shadow of one holdover in particular.

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-poster-mountainThe fifth pairing of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio opened to $9.1 million on Christmas Day (Django Unchained earned $15 million on the same day last year) for a total of $34.3 million in five days.  That’s only a bit lower than projected, though I’m sure Paramount was hoping word of mouth would bring adult audiences out in bigger numbers.  Too bad those audiences seemed more taken with American Hustle.  The David O. Russell comedy took in an estimated $19.5 million, up 2.3% from one week ago.

If The Wolf of Wall Street was supposed to be this Christmas’s Django Unchained, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was hoping to be this year’s Les Miserables.  The big-budget musical earned $27.2 million on 2012’s post-Christmas frame, a number the Ben Stiller comedy couldn’t hit after a full five days. To be fair, Fox was only expecting about $19 million from Mitty’s first weekend.  Still, the fact that it made just $13 million will be hard to spin.  One factor working against Walter Mitty was the legend of Ron Burgundy.  After a slower than expected start last weekend, Anchorman 2 found its footing over Christmas, claiming a total of $83.6 million in twelve days.  By the first of the year, the comedy will have passed the $85.3 million final total of 2004’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Of the three remaining new Christmas releases, only one made it to the top ten… and just barely.  47 Ronin, the last of 2013’s troubled, big-budget productions, was expected to struggle in this crowded marketplace.  And struggle it did.  Though the action movie started with a decent $7 million on Christmas Day, interest quickly fell away (surely, that 12% Rotten Tomato score didn’t help).  47 Ronin cost over $200 million (hence the ‘troubled’) so Universal is looking at a major write off unless international audiences go for Ronin in a big way.

grudge-match-robert-de-niro-sylvester-stalloneGrudge Match was one of the Christmas movies that missed the top ten.  Justin Bieber’s Believe, which placed fourteenth with just $2 million, was the other.  I’ll leave tearing down Bieber to the good folks at Buzz Feed, and wrap up this holiday box office report with Match.

The fact that the Sylvester Stallone, Robin DeNiro comedy has been slammed by critics (21% on Rotten Tomatoes) is beside the point.  The critically savaged Parental Guidance took in $14.5 million one year ago and went on to a domestic total of $77 million.  But that was then.  In this year’s more-competitive market, the same multi-generational audiences that made Parental Guidance a hit chose to skip Grudge Match and support better-reviewed movies like Saving Mr. Banks and Frozen instead.  It’s a Christmas miracle.

Overall, box office earnings were up 10% over 2012’s post-Christmas frame.  And with just two days to go before the new year arrives, it is clear that 2013 will go down as the highest-grossing year in box office history.  So, Happy New Year studios!

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  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    Wow !!!
    How long will it take before disney announce a frozen sequel ?
    I’m astonished at the fact that grudge match, saving mr banks are doing that bad
    I always knew Ben stiller was a talentless hack so I’m not surprised at secret life of Walter Mitty underperforming
    Wolf of Wall Street will be a moderate success in theaters but a hit in DVDs, video on demand and all that shit
    Good job at American hustle. It was a fun harmless movie
    What the fuck is wrong with paramount ???
    Why are they burying nebraska ???
    This movie is been out for 2 months already and they don’t plan to take it to more than 200 theaters ??
    Not even in January or February ?
    I think they’re mad that Payne ignored them and shot it in black and white
    Our loss
    It’s the best movie of the year, funny and very humane

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    Frozen was very good, indeed. The animation was just astonishing. Lots of animated movies have quick cuts but Frozen has long animations that see the characters performing very complex movements one right after another. Some animations are noticeably higher quality from one scene to the next, but the overall quality and amount has increased since Tangled. It’s only a matter of time before every scene is of the highest quality (as animators get better and better animators are hired).

    Disney kicked Pixar in the face with this one. Pixar is good at making toys talk and silly animals do funny things, but when it comes to people they are out of practice, to say the least.

    • Nick

      Up and the incredibles…… Pixar is definitely more than “talking toys and silly animals” John lasseter is exec producing these disney films which plays a large role in their successful dynamic with tanked and frozen.

      • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

        I think The Incredibles was a superior movie to Frozen in most ways other than character design and animation (the retarded snowman notwithstanding). Frozen really put lots of other movies to shame in this regard.

      • Nick

        Frozen was wonderful. I just think it’s unfair to say pixar doesn’t have that touch with human characters. Even in wall e the people are memorable.

      • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

        I don’t mean to be unfair – both studios are great. I just feel that Disney has unlimited potential for emotional expression whereas Pixar is “stuck” with making movies directed at prepubescents.

        A lot of it is a question of visual style. Pixar goes for cartoony.

        This can have an effect on character animations. Realistic movements would look strange on a cartoon-looking character – subsequently, the closer you get to realistic characters the greater they attention to animation detail. For example, Avatar needed photo-realism to work because they were not just animating, they were capturing a performance. Disney and Pixar still hand-animate in the computer.

        It seems that Disney has chosen a visual style for its movies that gives it a rotoscoped look. Rotoscoping is basically animating on top of a video rather than recording 3D data from real movements in a motion-capture studio.

        Anyway, Disney has struck gold when it comes to their marriage of style and animation. One is affected by the other – if your characters look cartoony but move like real people then the illusion is shattered, or worse; they look creepy. Disney has avoided making their characters look creepy, but they’ve also allowed themselves very realistic human interactions and movements. As you know, emotional complexity increases with age – Disney has the potential, with this style of animation and art direction, to create movies that have unlimited emotional potential.

        So far we’ve gotten two movies about princesses and one about a video game character from Walt Disney Animation Studios. But, there is more on the way:

        http://youtu.be/GSV3laJplpU

        I can’t say if this movie will be good, but judging by the tone it could really change everything. If this new Disney animation is as emotionally complex as Frozen (or more so) then Disney will have upped the ante. Pixar will be “stuck” making cartoon movies for prepubescents while Disney courts teenagers and adults.

        I suppose I’m a bit obtuse on the subject of the emotional animation quality, but it’s a thing, I swear! John Lasseter would know what I mean :)

        And here’s this:

        http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xzt3vb_paperman_shortfilms

      • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

        I don’t mean to be unfair – both studios are great. I just feel that Disney has unlimited potential for emotional expression whereas Pixar is “stuck” with making movies directed at prepubescents.

        A lot of it is a question of visual style. Pixar goes for cartoony.

        This can have an effect on character animations. Realistic movements would look strange on a cartoon-looking character – subsequently, the closer you get to realistic characters the greater they attention to animation detail. For example, Avatar needed photo-realism to work because they were not just animating, they were capturing a performance. Disney and Pixar still hand-animate in the computer.

        It seems that Disney has chosen a visual style for its movies that gives it a rotoscoped look. Rotoscoping is basically animating on top of a video rather than recording 3D data from real movements in a motion-capture studio.

        Anyway, Disney has struck gold when it comes to their marriage of style and animation. One is affected by the other – if your characters look cartoony but move like real people then the illusion is shattered, or worse; they look creepy. Disney has avoided making their characters look creepy, but they’ve also allowed themselves very realistic human interactions and movements. As you know, emotional complexity increases with age – Disney has the potential, with this style of animation and art direction, to create movies that have unlimited emotional potential.

        So far we’ve gotten two movies about princesses and one about a video game character from Walt Disney Animation Studios. But, there is more on the way:

        http://youtu.be/GSV3laJplpU

        I can’t say if this movie will be good, but judging by the tone it could really change everything. If this new Disney animation is as emotionally complex as Frozen (or more so) then Disney will have upped the ante. Pixar will be “stuck” making cartoon movies for prepubescents while Disney courts teenagers and adults.

        I suppose I’m a bit obtuse on the subject of the emotional animation quality, but it’s a thing, I swear! John Lasseter would know what I mean :)

        And here’s this:

        http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xzt3vb_paperman_shortfilms

      • Nick

        Frozen was wonderful. I just think it’s unfair to say pixar doesn’t have that touch with human characters. Even in wall e the people are memorable.

  • The Flobbit

    @Nicole, I thought that the Hobbit had already broken 500 million and more worldwide. Has it not, or are you just behind the times?

  • Matt1

    No wonder that Sylvester Stallone/Robin DeNiro movie bombed… They really should’ve tried to get Robin’s more famous brother Robert.

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