Welcome to the calm before the storm. With most of the hype centering on the jam-packed Christmas Day slot, this weekend’s new releases could open a bit on the softer side, but “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is worth keeping an eye on. Even though it’s been nearly a decade since the first film hit, that movie amassed an enormous cult following and there’s no doubt that the large majority of Ron Burgundy fans will come out to catch the sequel. Should this one pull a “Grown Up 2,” “Anchorman 2” could dominate the weekend with a $40 million start. We’ve also got “Walking with Dinosaurs” arriving in 3,231 theaters, but thanks to a rather weak promotional push and “Frozen’s” long legs, it might end up being this year’s “The Adventures of Tintin” and post just $10 million to start.
The #2 spot will be an easy win for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” but the question is, how well will it hold? “An Unexpected Journey” took a 56.4% dip making the move from weekend one to two, but it had more to lose. On the other hand, “The Desolation of Smaug” could be in for the bigger fall because it’s got stronger weekend two competition. Last year, both “Jack Reacher” and “This Is 40” underperformed, letting “An Unexpected Journey” hold on to the top spot for two weekends in a row. Considering there are ups and downs, we’ll split the difference and say “The Desolation of Smaug” will also dip about 55% and come in with $33 million for its second weekend out.
Here’s where “American Hustle” will likely slip in. It only opened in six theaters last weekend, but managed to post a highly impressive $123,409 per theater average suggesting its first weekend as a wide release could be a big one. Even if that number comes down to about $9,000, it’s still looking at an easy third place win with $22 million. As for “Saving Mr. Banks,” on the other hand, its wide expansion won’t make it much of a moneymaker. Last weekend it only posted $27,558 per theater at 15 locations, so its average could come all the way down to $4,000, only letting it take another $8 million to the bank.
With “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Walking with Dinosaurs” opening so low, “Frozen” should be able to stay strong and snag the #4 spot with another 30% drop for a $15 million weekend five total. Should “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” take a brutal weekend one to two hit like the large majority of Perry’s movies, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” will steal the #7 spot with $9 million, pushing “Madea” and its $8 million weekend two intake down to #8.
“Thor: The Dark World,” “Out of the Furnace” and “Delivery Man” are all due to lose well over 1,000 theaters so “Philomena” and “The Book Thief” could get to enjoy one last weekend in the top ten. Should “Philomena’s” 17.1% weekend four dip come up to 30%, it’ll come in at #9 with about $1.3 million while “The Book Thief” will likely drop 40% and take another $1 million even.
1. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. American Hustle
5. Walking With Dinosaurs
6. Saving Mr. Banks
7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
8. A Madea Christmas
10. The Book Thief