The box office results for the weekend of December 14th – 16th sees The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey picking up right where The Lord of the Rings Trilogy left off: making precious amounts of money. Peter Jackson’s 4th installment dominated as the only new wide release while the holdovers picked up the minimal scraps leftover. Here are the studio estimates:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($84.7 million)
2. Rise of the Guardinas ($7.4 million)
3. Lincoln ($7.2 million)
4. Skyfall ($7 million)
5. Life of Pi ($5.4 million)
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ($5.1 million)
7. Playing for Keeps ($3.2 million)
8. Wreck-It Ralph ($3.2 million)
9. Red Dawn 2012 ($2.3 million)
10. Silver Linings Playbook ($2 million)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey easily set a new domestic opening weekend record for the LOTR franchise (Return of the King previously held the mantle with $72.6 million). It also set records for the biggest opening day ($37.5 million) and weekend in December (I Am Legend held it with $77.2 million) with its performance. Each installment has always outperformed its predecessor; but with mixed reviews – from both the lovely critics and audiences – and boasting a polarizing new screening technology (High Frame Rate 3D), it will be interesting to see if the prequel entry can eclipse the $377 million stateside total, also set by ROTK. One can definitely factor in multiple trips to the theaters for the die-hard fans. And getting back to the new technology, expect some people to screen the film in both the traditional 3D and new fancy HFR formats; which will also pad the financial stats. Worldwide, this should be able knock on the door of the $1 billion mark sometime early next year.
As for the production budget, the first three engagements – shot at the same time over a decade ago – cost $94 million apiece to create. With the advances in technology, and with Jackson and Co. once again shooting this next trilogy in one shot, the reported budget for each respective installment is around $150 million. That may seem kind of low, considering the grand-scale of the presentation, but that’s the advantage to having your own special-effects house and doing all three pics at once.
Briefly looking at the holdovers, Lincoln (budgeted at $65 million) crossed over the $100 million plateau and is now up to $107.8 in 6 weeks of release. Wreck-It Ralph currently holds the longest streak in the top ten with 7 weeks and has reached $168.7 million stateside.
This Friday, The Guilt Trip is the lone newbie showing up, while award hopefuls Zero Dark Thirty and Amour are unveiled in limited capacity. Reviews will be right here my fellow Shockers!
Joe Belcastro is an established movie critic in Tampa, Florida. As a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, most of his time is spent reviewing upcoming movies. He also covers news pertaining to the film industry, on both a local and national level as well as conducting interviews. To contact Joe Belcastro regarding a story or with general questions about his services, please e-mail him and/or follow him on Twiiter @TheWritingDemon.