Box Office Results for December 14, 2012


This weekend, fans of Middle Earth ended their long wait and charged into North American multiplexes powering the new fantasy adventure The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey into the number one spot breaking the December opening weekend record in the process.  Audiences around the world made the Peter Jackson film the most popular movie on the planet as no other studio dared to challenge Bilbo Baggins and his gang with any other new releases.

thehobbitanunexpectedjourneyThe Hobbit

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey scored an estimated $84.8M in ticket sales this weekend accounting for about 60% of the marketplace.  Warner Bros. opened the first chapter of this new trilogy in 4,045 total domestic theaters (also a December record) and averaged a sensational $20,958 per location.  The adventure tale was offered in many different viewing formats including 3D, IMAX, and High Frame Rate (HFR) as well as combinations of these formats.  3D was offered in 3,160 of the locations (6,500 total screens) while HFR was in 461 sites and 326 theaters had IMAX.  3D and IMAX screens had higher ticket prices, which helped to boost the overall gross.

A new December opening weekend record was set by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  The previous high was set five years ago this very weekend when Will Smith’s I Am Legend bowed to $77.2M with no help from 3D.  Avatar had the biggest December debut for a 3D film with $77M in 2009.  Factoring in three years of ticket price increases, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s opening weekend audience size was roughly the same as Avatar’s.  Both were near-three-hour effects-driven 3D epics from Oscar-winning directors opening on a mid-December Friday.

The turnout for the new Galdalf flick was extremely front-loaded.  Friday kicked off with $37.5M including a stunning $13M from Thursday night post-midnight shows.  Saturday tumbled 25% to $28.2M while the studio is projecting a 32% drop on Sunday to $19.1M.  The breakdown over the three-day period was very similar to the debut frame of The Hunger Games from last March, which, like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, had a huge midnight start, did 44% of its weekend gross Friday and had a 25% drop from Friday-to-Saturday.  Both films also earned a solid A grade from CinemaScore.  After its front-loaded start, The Hunger Games went on to have strong legs topping the charts for four consecutive weeks.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has the Christmas and New Year’s holidays still to come plus no competing event films are opening soon so its road ahead looks promising.

Males made up 57% of the audience and those over 25 were 58% of the crowd.  IMAX venues grossed $10.1M accounting for a solid 12% of the weekend take.  This was a brand that fans felt was worth paying extra for.  Plus, Digital IMAX screenings offered a special preview featuring the first nine minutes of next summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount and Skydance.  Last December, it was Paramount and Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol IMAX release, which was coupled with the opening scenes of The Dark Knight Rises from DC.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey invaded much of the world this weekend and opened to an excellent $138.2M from 56 international markets since its Wednesday launch in initial territories.  That amounts to a worldwide opening of $223M with the holidays still to come.  Also, major markets like Russia (December 19), Australia (December 26), and China (TBD) are still to open.  Leading the way were the U.K. with $18.3M, Germany with $16.3M, France with $12.7M, and Korea with $8.5M.

Produced by New Line and MGM, the new Middle Earth trilogy will continue with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which bows this same week next year on December 13, 2013, followed by the final chapter The Hobbit: There and Back Again opening the following summer on July 18, 2014.  Warner Bros. has slotted the final Hobbit into the key July frame that the studio found enormous success with in past years with its recent Batman and Harry Potter films.


Slipping only 29% and rising into the second place slot was the animated adventure Rise of the Guardians with an estimated $7.4M.  Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have grossed $71.4M to date and is hoping that strength over the coming Christmas holidays will get it into the century club.  After securing seven Golden Globe nominations, the most for any film, Touchstone expanded the run of DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox, and Reliance’s historical drama Lincoln, which placed third with an estimated $7.2M.  Adding 271 locations, the Steven Spielberg hit dipped only 19% in its sixth round upping the cume to $107.9M.  On Thursday, the presidential pic became the director’s 15th $100M+ domestic grosser and the first for Daniel Day-Lewis who is currently seen as the front-runner to win the Best Actor Oscar.


The James Bond smash Skyfall followed in fourth with an estimated $7M, down 35%, for a total to date of $272.4M.  Columbia and MGM collected an additional $12.2M overseas boosting the international gross to $678.7M and the global haul to a staggering $951M.  It should break the $1B mark before the year is up.


Off 35% in its fourth round was the 3D epic Life of Pi with an estimated $5.4M giving Fox 2000’s Ang Lee film $69.6M to date.  Life of Pi earned three Golden Globe nominations including Best Picture – Drama and Best Director.  This weekend saw an estimated $11.5M from a limited number of international markets for an overseas total of $129.4M led by China’s humongous $84.3M.  The worldwide figure stands at $199M.  The vampire juggernaut The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 fell 44% to an estimated $5.2M pushing the cume to $276.9M for Summit.  It is currently running $10.5M (4%) ahead of Breaking Dawn Part 1 from this time last year.


The hit toon Wreck-It Ralph slipped 33% to an estimated $3.3M giving Disney Animation $168.8M to date.  Close behind with an estimated $3.2M was the Gerard Butler flop Playing for Keeps, which fell 44% in its second weekend.  The FilmDistrict and Nu Image release has banked a puny $10.8M in ten days.


Grossing an estimated $2.4M was FilmDistrict and United Artists stablemate Red Dawn, which declined by 44% for a $40.9M cume to date.  Rounding out the top ten was Silver Linings Playbook, which jumped back onto the list thanks to its scant 4% dip to an estimated $2.1M despite having no extra screens added.  The Weinstein Co. release scored four big Golden Globe nods including Best Picture – Comedy or Musical and showed that while the awards may not have much prestige or industry respect, they do make an impact on general moviegoers and studio marketing campaigns and can drive extra ticket sales.  Total is now $17M from 371 theaters with an expansion planned for Christmas.


The top ten films grossed an estimated $128M, which was up 21% from last year when Warner Bros. Pictures and Silver PicturesSherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows opened at number one with $39.6M; and up 2% from 2010 when Walt Disney PicturesTron: Legacy debuted in the top spot with $44M.


December 14, 2012 to December 16, 2012 Top Ten

The Hobbit   Rise of the Guardians   Lincoln   Skyfall   Life of Pi

Breaking Dawn Part 2   Wreck-It Ralph   Playing for Keeps   Red Dawn   Silver Linings Playbook

1.   The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  • $84,775,000
  • New Line Cinema (Warner Bros. Entertainment) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM Holdings)

2.   Rise of the Guardians

3.   Lincoln

4.   Skyfall

5.   Life of Pi

  • $5,400,000
  • Fox 2000 Pictures (Fox Entertainment Group)

6.   The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

7.   Wreck-It Ralph

  • $3,273,000
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

8.   Playing for Keeps

9.   Red Dawn

  • $2,394,000
  • a FilmDistrict release
  • United Artists (MGM Holdings)

10. Silver Linings Playbook

  • $2,084,000
  • The Weinstein Company


December 16, 2011 to December 18, 2011 Top Ten

Sherlock Holmes 2   Alvin and the Chipmunks 3   Mission Impossible 4   New Year's Eve   The Sitter

Breaking Dawn Part 1   Young Adult   Hugo   Arthur Christmas   The Muppets

1.   Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

  • $40,000,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment) and Silver Pictures

2.   Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

3.   Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

  • $13,000,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Paramount Motion Pictures Group) and Skydance Productions

4.   New Year’s Eve

  • $7,400,000
  • New Line Cinema (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

5.   The Sitter

  • $4,400,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox Entertainment Group)

6.   The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

  • $4,300,000
  • Summit Entertainment

7.   Young Adult

  • $3,600,000
  • Paramount Pictures (Paramount Motion Pictures Group) and Mandate Pictures (Lions Gate Entertainment)

8.   Hugo

  • $3,600,000
  • a Paramount release (Paramount Motion Pictures Group)
  • GK Films

9.   Arthur Christmas

10. The Muppets

  • $3,500,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)


December 17, 2010 to December 19, 2010 Top Ten

Tron 2   Yogi Bear   The Chronicles of Narnia 3   The Fighter   The Tourist

Tangled   Black Swan   How Do You Know   Harry Potter 7   Unstoppable

1.   Tron: Legacy

  • $43,600,000
  • Walt Disney Pictures (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

2.   Yogi Bear

  • $16,705,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  • $12,400,000
  • Fox 2000 Pictures (Fox Entertainment Group) and Walden Media

4.   The Fighter

  • $12,200,000
  • a Paramount release (Paramount Motion Pictures Group)
  • Relativity Media

5.   The Tourist

6.   Tangled

  • $8,676,000
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

7.   Black Swan

8.   How Do You Know

  • $7,600,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

9.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

  • $4,845,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

10. Unstoppable

  • $1,800,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox Entertainment Group)

~ by Matt Whitfield on December 18, 2012.

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