Box-Office Oracle: ‘The Hobbit’ Goes for Four Wins Against ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’


Weekend Box-Office Predictions

Current Streak: 0 Weekends in a Row
Threat Level to Streak Being Broken: 95 percent. The first weekend after a holiday is a nightmare. Proceed with predictive caution.
Reason: The numbers are low, meaning 100,000 tickets either way will make a huge difference.

The HobbitThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is attempting to become the first film since The Hunger Games to hit four weekends in a row, and accomplishment that’s becoming an exceptionally rare feat (Avatar was the last film prior). Not to be a wet blanket, but it’s tracking about $20 million behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Still, $706 million worldwide works, though the real question will be how well they set up the sequel. Based on completely anecdotal word of mouth, I don’t think they have, but that A- CinemaScore certainly disputes my theory.

I’m targeting a $20.4 million finish for The Hobbit this weekend, enough to get that fourth weekend in a row, but it’s going to be close.

If the budget for Les Miserables was indeed $61 million, then the $129 million worldwide is a nice start and I have it battling at a close second this weekend with $20.2 million. To become a major success, however, they’ll need an Academy push plus international, as the domestic number looks to be capped at $150 million. There simply aren’t enough fans of musicals to go around.

The forecast for Django Unchained is a bit cloudier, because the international prospects have to be projected at less than Inglourious Basterds‘ $200 million haul. The math on Basterds was $321 million on a $70 million production budget, a very healthy 4.5 multiplier, but if Django Unchained only pulls $240 million on $100 million budget, it’s a much lesser success, and a Best Picture nom (with zero chance at a win) probably won’t make a home video impact.

The only other compelling story of the weekend is Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. January is the month to trot out a horror winner, just look at The Devil Inside for precedent, but I think folks have soured a bit on 3D and reboots. As such, I’m awarding it $6,000 per theater, a number more in line with The Rite and a fourth place, $15 million opening.

Enough bloviation, what’s your take? The top four is all worthy of your prediction, getting the order correct will be quite an accomplishment because they’re all bunched up like a scrunchie. Go out there and get some!

SIDE NOTE: Some of the theater numbers below are estimates. We’ll have the actual counts in Sunday’s wrap-up article.