Box Office Results: The Hobbit Remains Aloft Weak Pre-Xmas Box Office


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

With many people who might normally go to the movies doing some last minute Christmas shopping and traveling home before the holiday on Tuesday, it was a relatively slow weekend at the box office yet that didn’t stop the release of five movies in wide release and five equally high profile limited releases – four of them by Paramount Pictures alone.

Despite all the new choices in theaters, Peter Jackson’s epic The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (New Line/WB) remained on top for a second weekend in a row with $36.7 million, down 57% from its record-setting December opening weekend. After becoming the 26th movie of 2012 to cross the $100 million mark, it has grossed nearly $150 million domestically in 10 days. Internationally, the “An Unexpected Journey” added $91 million for an overseas total of $284 million and worldwide total of $433.9 million.

Tom Cruise’s action-thriller Jack Reacher (Paramount), based on Lee Child’s popular fictional crime fighter and co-starring Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall and David Oyelowo, opened in second place with an estimated $15.6 million, a fairly disappointing opening following Cruise’s Christmas 2012 release Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It should be able to take advantage of the school and work holidays to make up for it over the next week and a half. although it does have some competition for male audiences on Christmas Day when Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained opens.

Director Judd Apatow’s fourth R-rated comedy This Is 40 (Universal), starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, opened with a disappointing $12 million in 2,912 theaters, although it fared better than many other comedies that opened pre-Christmas and should be able to build on it during the week ahead to gross $60 million or more.

DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians dropped to fourth place with $5.9 million, down just 17% from last weekend, presumably bringing in some holiday shoppers to take its total to $79.7 million. That’s significantly lower than other recent films from the animation studio and it ends their run with distributor Paramount on a low note. Internationally, Rise of the Guardians added $13.7 million for an overseas total of $142.9 million and worldwide total of $222.6 million.

On the other hand, Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Lincoln (DreamWorks), starring Golden Globe nominees Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, continued to do big business as it took fifth place this weekend with $5.6 million, down just 20% from last week. It has grossed $117 million without ever playing in more than 2,300 theaters nationwide, which means it still has room to expand and do even more business going into the holidays and awards season.

Opening on Wednesday, Paramount’s second new release of the weekend was the road trip comedy The Guilt Trip, starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, which brought in $5.4 million this weekend after grossing $2 million on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also opening on Wednesday in just over 2,600 theaters, Disney’s Monsters, Inc. 3D, their third 3D re-release of the year, failed to entice moviegoers in the pre-Christmas weekend, taking seventh place with just $5 million and $6.5 million since Wednesday.

The 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall (Sony/MGM) dropped to 8th place with $4.7 million, having grossed $280 million to date domestically as it remains neck and neck with the “Twilight” finale (see below) for the fourth-highest grossing movie of 2012. It also added another $9 million overseas bringing its global total to $974.1 million.

Ninth place went to Ang Lee’s Golden Globe-nominated Life of Pi (20th Century Fox) which added another $3.8 million for a domestic gross of $76.1 million.

The Top 10 was rounded out by Summit’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which added another $2.6 million to its total domestic take of $281.6 million, putting it just ahead Skyfall for the year.

The Top 10 grossed roughly $97.4 million, down 10% from last year when Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol topped the box office with $29.6 million and five new movies opened with only David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony) opening with more than $10 million to take third place with $12.8 million.

Paramount’s third release of the weekend, the James Cameron-produced, Andrew (Shrek) Adamson-directed Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D (Paramount), brought the popular Canadian circus troop to the big screen in 840 3D theaters where it brought in $2.1 million, a measly per-theater average of $2,500 per site.

This week’s limited releases were represented by a number of high profile films that had been playing the festival circuit over the past few months, many of them receiving early awards season recognition from the critics and other groups.

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (Sony), starring Jessica Chastain, which received high profile awards from the National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle, opened in 5 theaters in New York and L.A. on Wednesday and immediately set a record for a per-theater average for a limited release on a Wednesday. Over the weekend, it added another $410 thousand or $82 thousand per site to bring its total gross to $639 thousand since opening on Wednesday. Bigelow’s controversial real-life political thriller about the search for Osama bin Laden will expand nationwide into over 1,800 theaters on January 11, 2012, one day after the 85th Annual Oscar nominations.

Michael Haneke’s equally acclaimed foreign language drama Amour (Sony Pictures Classics), which has received many awards from the critics as well as festivals going back to Cannes, opened on Wednesday and over the weekend. It grossed roughly $70.6 thousand in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

Juan (The Orphanage) Bayona’s tsunami drama The Impossible (Summit), starring Golden Globe nominee Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, brought in $139 thousand in 15 theaters over the weekend, roughly $9 thousand per location.

Brazillian filmmaker Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (IFC Films) premiered in four theaters in New York and L.A. where it brought in $43 thousand or roughly $10 thousand per site.

Lastly, David Chase’s directorial debut Not Fade Away (Paramount Vantage) opened in three theaters with a paltry $19 thousand, $6 thousand per site.

Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.