This weekend saw the release of one of the biggest films of the holiday season, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The sequel to last year's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey received stronger reviews than its predecessor, but that didn't necessarily translate to stronger box office. While An Unexpected Journey grossed $84.6 million on its opening weekend, The Desolation of Smaug grossed $73.6 million. That's a bit of a drop, but most box office pundits are quick to point out the stronger competition along with the negative word of mouth that came with the first film. The Desolation of Smaug also received an "A-" Cinemascore. That's lower than An Unexpected Journey's "A" according to Box Office Mojo. Still, The Desolation of Smaug could be a big hit. The holiday break is coming up and typically The Lord of the Rings films hold very well. However, there is stronger competition as Anchorman 2, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Walking With Dinosaurs, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Mandela, 47 Ronin and The Wolf of Wall Street are all opening in the next week and a half. We'll see how it goes from here.
In second place was Disney's Frozen, which dropped a meager 30% for a $22.1 million weekend. That's a light drop and the animated juggernaut has now grossed $164.3 million domestically. Frozen is a fantastic film and will continue to hold well over the Christmas break. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas disappointed in third place with a $16 million weekend. That's the lowest opening for a Madea opening so far, and about half of what I expected it to gross. However, there's little direct competition for it over the break, and I expect it to finish with over $55 million.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire continued to fall down the box office rankings with a fourth place finish and a $13.1 million weekend. The film has now grossed $356.9 million. Catching Fire could gross over $400 million, but with its upcoming competition, I really doubt it. Behind Catching Fire in fifth place was Marvel's Thor: The Dark World with a $2.7 million weekend. The Dark World has now grossed $198.1 million and is inching its way towards $200 million. Out of the Furnace finished in sixth place with a $2.3 million weekend. The dark revenge drama dropped hard after a weak opening weekend. Out of the Furnace has now grossed $9.4 million.
Delivery Man took its first hard drop this weekend (50%) and grossed $1.8 million in seventh place. The comedy has now grossed $27.9 million. Not bad after its weak opening. Philomena built off of its Golden Globes buzz and finished in eighth place with a $1.7 million weekend. The drama has now grossed $11 million. The Book Thief finished in ninth place with $1.67 million, which was enough to raise its total to $14.8 million. That's a pretty solid total for the film. And rounding out the top ten was Lionsgate's Homefront, which grossed $1.63 million this weekend. The revenge actioner has now grossed $18.4 million.
In limited release, American Hustle dominated with $690,000 in six theaters. That gives it a per-screen average of $115,000, which is quite impressive. Saving Mr. Banks didn't fare quite so well with $421,000 in fifteen theaters for a per-screen average of $28,067. Despite the lack of early success, I'm still betting that Saving Mr. Banks will be a hit when it goes wide.
Next weekend sees the release of Anchorman 2, Walking with Dinosaurs, and the nationwide expansions of American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks. Here are my predictions:
1. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues- $41.1 million ($56.2 million 5-day)
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- $32 million
3. American Hustle- $27.5 million
4. Saving Mr. Banks- $22 million
5. Frozen- $16.2 million
6. Walking with Dinosaurs 3D- $13.1 million
7. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas- $9.3 million
8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- $6.4 million
9. Thor: The Dark World- $1.8 million
10. Inside Llewyn Davis- $1.7 million
Image Credit: Book Riot