Monday, December 17, 2012
Box Office: Good News, Bad News for The Hobbit
It has been more than a decade since Peter Jackson introduced us to his version of Middle Earth and now he's back with the prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy that delighted critics and fans the world over. The good news for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was that it grossed $86.4 million which is good for the best December opening ever and certainly the best opening for a Lord of the Rings film. The bad news for this film is that it only grossed $86.4 million, which when adjusted for inflation loses its top spot to Return of the King and barely edges out Two Towers. Furthermore, everyone expected the film to easily surpass $100 million especially considering how beloved the original trilogy was and years of pent-up demand. Plus this year alone, four films had already opened north of $140 million and The Hobbit couldn't even beat the opening for Skyfall ($88.3 million just last month). Part of it has got to be the mediocre reviews (64% Rotten Tomatoes), but the film had enough baggage with the controversial 48fps technology and the unpopular decision of making this a trilogy. So objectively, it's doing quite fine and the holiday season will only help its gross, but relative to expectations, it has an uphill battle.
Meanwhile Lincoln continues to astound having crossed the $100 million milestone before the weekend and then surpassing Argo after the weekend to become the highest-grossing Best Picture contender at $107.7 million. Argo, for its part, is doing just fine cracking the Top 12 list again in its 10th week of release with a total of $105 million. Another Oscar favorite, Silver Linings Playbook had the smallest week-to-week decline, but still at 317 theaters, the Weinstein Company's decision to not expand the film is getting more dumbfounding. While those films were obviously helped out by last week's Golden Globe nominations, other films benefited as well such as Best Animated nominees Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It Ralph and Best Picture/Director nominee Life of Pi, which all saw sub 35% declines. Meanwhile, Best Song nominee Skyfall is slowly making up some ground on the non-nominated final Twilight film for the honor of being #4 for the year behind blockbusters The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, and Hunger Games. The James Bond film also has a slight chance to reach $300 million.
With about a dozen films set to open in the next few days in time for Christmas Day, eyeballs will be scarce so the films out now hope to maximize their results as quickly as possible. Should be an interesting end of the year for the box office.