We’re still two weeks away from a potentially enormous Christmas Day opening with five new wide releases vying for the top spot, but for now, we’ve got two heavy hitters worth keeping an eye on. Even though “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is arriving on the exact same weekend as its predecessor, it’s going to have to contend with far more competition than “An Unexpected Journey,” which will likely keep it from matching that film’s $84.6 million start. The second strongest performance the weekend “An Unexpected Journey” arrived was “Rise of the Guardians” with a mere $7.1 million. This weekend, “Frozen,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “A Madea Christmas” are all expected to earn over $13 million so there’s a good chance “The Desolation of Smaug” will have to settle for $70 million.
With Madea, on the other hand, a Madea movie is a Madea movie and comes with a built-in audience. The last film in the long-running series, “Madea’s Witness Protection,” opened with $25 million in the summer of 2012 and that was against some very high earners like “Ted,” “Magic Mike” and “Brave,” so there’s no reason to think that this installment won’t be able to do the same, if not surpass that total and come close to the $30 million mark.
Even though both “Frozen” and “Catching Fire” took rather hefty hits last weekend, those numbers could level out just the slightest bit as we creep closer to the holiday. Should “Frozen” manage to bring that 53.1% drop down to 50%, it’ll take the #3 spot with about $16 million and should “Catching Fire” see a similar percent change, it’ll come in right behind with another $13 million.
Lucky for last weekend’s big flop, “Out of the Furnace,” that “Thor: The Dark World” is falling so fast, otherwise it’d never manage to snag that #5 spot. Should the “Out of the Furnace” per theater average dip from $2,484 to $1,700, it’ll take just $3.6 million for its second weekend out. Considering it just doesn’t have all that far to fall anymore, it’s highly unlikely that “Thor” will take another 56.6% hit. If it retains 60% of its weekend five profits, it’ll come in behind “Out of the Furnace” with a weekend six total of $2.9 million.
Here’s where things will come down to dollars and cents. “Delivery Man” barely kept ahead of “Homefront’s” $3.4 million last weekend with $3.7 million of its own, but considering “Homefront” is experiencing the faster fall, “Delivery Man” is looking like a sure thing for that #7 spot. Should “Delivery Man” drop 40% and “Homefront” 45%, the former will take $2.2 million and the latter $1.9 million.
“The Book Thief” should have no trouble holding strong enough to snag #9 with another 45% drop and $1.4 million weekend six total, but “The Best Man Holiday” could feel the effects of “Madea” and lose the last spot on the top ten to “Philomena.” Should “Best Man Holiday” take another hefty 60% hit and “Philomena” repeat its weekend two to three 40% loss, “Philomena” will come in with $1.3 million, topping “Best Man Holiday” by about $300,000.
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
2. A Madea Christmas
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
5. Out of the Furnace
6. Thor: The Dark World
7. Delivery Man
9. The Book Thief