December 17 2012

The Hobbit Takes the Top Spot at the Box Office, but Not as Big as Expected

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey banner

It seems at least some people wanted to journey back to Middle Earth, but not quite as many as a decade ago.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened at number one this week with$84.77 million, setting a record for a December opening. While it beat out all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy opening numbers, accounting for inflation and IMAX ticket premiums, attendance was noticeably off. Considering the beating this new film is taking, some may start to question how wise it was to turn this into a trilogy.

Coming in second was Rise of the Guardians with $7.4 million, bringing its domestic total to a paltry $71 million in its fourth week of release off of a $145 million dollar budget. These animated movies have got to start reining in their budgets if they want to turn a profit.

Lincoln landed in third place with $7.2 million, and in its sixth week week of release actually upped its screen count by 271. Word of mouth is definitely carrying this film, and it’s sure to get some attention at Oscar time.

James Bond is hanging in there with Skyfall coming in in fourth place with another $7 million, bringing its domestic total to $272 million and its worldwide gross to $950 million. This still astounds me for the 23rd film in a series.

Life of Pi has pretty much made fifth place its home and brought in another $5.4 million.

Overall it was a pretty miserable weekend at the box office unless you have hair on your feet, and even then it didn’t go so well.

Next week’s big releases are The Guilt Trip and a 3D release of Monsters, Inc. Zero Dark Thirty will also get a limited run ahead of its wide release to make sure it’s qualified for the Oscars in time.

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  • Jack

    I’m struck by the disconnect between the critical response and the audience response–check out Rotten Tomatoes. I think Peter Jackson has reached the point in his career where critics dislike him because he’s a big and mostly successful name; if he’s not re-revolutionizing fantasy cinema, he’s just being lazy. In ten more years he’ll be a critical darling again, probably. Happened for Spielberg.

    Also interesting: the audience percentage on The Hobbit is about equal to Return of the King, both considerably lower than that on the first two movies. I wonder why?

    Anyway–saw it twice, liked it a lot, discovered after the second viewing that I had already learned the names of eight of the dwarves and I was able to figure out the other five very easily because they were pretty easy to distinguish. So it has that much over the book.

    Very glad that the dish-breaking song was included.