Wednesday, 18 December 2013


Smaug set fire to the box office over the weekend, but its grosses were Frozen out by the first film's frosty reception, strong holdovers and, in the grand scheme of things, one pretty extraordinary limited opening. Nobody's gonna sniff at a $73.6 million opening, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug's (1) weekend debut was off a significant 13% from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's last December. That film's lukewarm audience reaction is probably to blame, though an A- Cinemascore for The Desolation of Smaug compared to an A for An Unexpected Journey is worrying for Smaug's long-term prospects. It'll surely fall short of its predecessor. Frozen (2) fell by just 28.6% weekend-on-weekend, though last weekend is, ofc, a notoriously low-grossing one (the weekend after Thanskgiving). Many holdovers posted declines of less than 50% too.

Never mind The Hobbit in first place. And never mind A Madea Christmas (3), underperforming for a Tyler Perry film, and even more so for a Madea film. Cast your eyes to the third-highest new release, David O. Russell's American Hustle (15), opening in just six theatres. $740,455 is more than Saving Mr. Banks' (18) opening of $413,373 in two-and-a-half times as many theatres. It also amounts to an astonishing per-theatre average of $123,409, more than the entire weekend grosses of all films outside of the top 25, including Blue Jasmine (26) in over 300 theatres. And it's the 14th highest PTA in domestic box office history, and the 4th highest for a live-action release, putting Inside Llewyn Davis' (19) debut last weekend to shame! That's great news for American Hustle, but not so much for its Oscar competition, 12 Years a Slave (16). Sure, 12 Years was never gonna earn more than Russell's latest, but that McQueen's film charted lower than Russell's in almost 83 times more times is pretty dreadful. As for Saving Mr. Banks, it may be time to put its Oscar chances to bed, though not due to its middling start at the box office. It's a baffling strategy, opening this (non-animated) Disney moneymaker in (non-exclusive) limited release before expanding it, so expect it to perform much better over the holiday season when it reaches more screens.

The Winner / Highest Opener: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($73,645,197)
Top Per-Theatre Average: American Hustle ($123,409)

It's all over here at Box Office Mojo, guys!

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