Box Office: The Hobbit, Frozen stay classy over Christmas frame

Robust Wolf of Wall Street heads newcomers, while Mitty, Grudge Match and Ronin struggle.



On the final frame of 2013, studios shoved six new wide releases into the marketplace but holiday moviegoers chose holdovers instead as The Hobbit stayed at number one while the month-old animated smash Frozen enjoyed a Christmas surge finishing close behind in second. Of the new faces, only one - The Wolf of Wall Street - posted impressive results with the rest attracting sales that ranged from mediocre to disastrous.

Topping the charts for the third straight weekend, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug won a slim victory with an estimated $29.9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period boosting the cume to a healthy $190.3M. Off just 5% from last weekend, the Middle Earth saga grossed a hearty $49.7M over the five-day period from Christmas Day Wednesday to Sunday. Smaug continues to run 15% behind the pace of last year's film An Unexpected Journey at the same point in the release. IMAX screens have accounted for $26M of the cume on the new Bilbo flick (about $50M worldwide) and this weekend's share rose to 17% of the gross as fans continue to pay extra for the premium experience. A massive $98.3M overseas this weekend pushed the international tally to $423.8M and the global haul to $614.1M.

The Disney animated blockbuster Frozen enjoyed a huge 47% jump from last weekend and grossed an estimated $28.8M in its fifth round of nationwide play. With positive buzz and no major competition for kids, the PG-rated smash has now amassed a stellar $248.4M making it the studio's second biggest non-Pixar toon of all-time trailing just 1994's The Lion King. Breaking $300M domestic seems likely. Frozen was red hot overseas too with new openings helping the international weekend gross reach $50.5M for a $79.3M global weekend. New cumes are now $243.5M overseas and $491.9M worldwide with Brazil, Japan, and China still to open.

Dropping 25% from its opening weekend was the holiday season's top broad comedy Anchorman 2 with an estimated $20.2M pushing the cume to $83.7M for Paramount putting it a day away from surpassing the $84.1M total of its 2004 predecessor. Close behind was the all-star awards contender American Hustle with an estimated $19.6M, up 2% from its wide debut last week. Sony has banked $60M to date.

Fifth place went to the excesses of the finance world as Martin Scorsese's raunchy new film The Wolf of Wall Street delivered the best opening among the half-dozen new releases with an estimated $18.5M over three days and $34.3M across the five days since its Christmas Day launch on Wednesday. The three-day average was $7,296 from 2,537 locations - solid for an R-rated film running three hours long.

Earning strong but not sensational reviews, the director's fifth outing with Leonardo DiCaprio skewed incredibly old playing more like a Marty film than a Leo one. A whopping 90% of the crowd was over 25 and 54% were male. Paying audiences did not like what they got as the CinemaScore grade was a troubling C which was among the lowest of any film this holiday season. With a budget of about $100M, Wolf will try to have the kind of legs that older-skewing movies do and if it secures a Best Picture Oscar nomination a few weeks from now, that could help it stay afloat too.

The feel-good Tom Hanks-Emma Thompson pic Saving Mr. Banks surged 50% despite no increase in screens and grossed an estimated $14M. Averaging a solid $6,645, the Disney release has collected $37.8M thus far.

Fox's PG-rated film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty bowed to an estimated $13M from 2,909 locations for a mediocre $4,469 average. Total for the Ben Stiller project since its yuletide launch is $25.6M. Reviews were mixed and the CinemaScore was a B+. Demos were 52% female and 64% over 25.

Jumping 16% was the Katniss tentpole The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with an estimated $10.2M in its sixth weekend and $391.1M overall making it 2013's second biggest blockbuster after Iron Man 3 ($409M) which it may surpass before its run is through. The Lionsgate release has climbed up to number 18 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters.

Keanu Reeves delivered a bomb with his pricey period adventure 47 Ronin which started with a solid opening day on Wednesday but then quickly lost its audience. The weekend saw an estimated $9.9M while the five-day period brought in just $20.6M. With a budget estimated to be in the range of $150-175M, the Universal release never generated interest outside of a core subset of the male action crowd. Reviews were terrible but the CinemaScore grade was a decent B+. There was a heavy male skew (62%) while 53% were over 30. Overseas results are not much better with $22.3M total to date from 29 markets including Japan where it is now in its fourth frame.

Rounding out the top ten was A Madea Christmas with an estimated $7.4M, down just 12%, for a $43.7M total for Lionsgate. It should surpass $50M like so many previous Tyler Perry movies including all the Madea titles.

Also rejected by critics and paying audiences alike was the Sylvester Stallone-Robert DeNiro boxing comedy Grudge Match which opened just outside the top ten to an estimated $7.3M over the weekend from 2,838 locations for a wimpy $2,576 average. The PG-13 pic earned a B+ from audiences and had only $13.4M in box office over five days. Older men, as expected, made up the core crowd as 55% were male and 68% were over 25. Reviews were dreadful and with so many better options, ticketbuyers took a pass on this fight.

Two more films debuted nationwide but failed to crack the top ten posting weak grosses. The Idris Elba pic Mandela followed a prolonged one month run in platform release with an expansion into 975 theaters but grossed an estimated $2.4M for a lousy $2,484 average. Cume for The Weinstein Co. is $4.7M with a rocky road ahead.

The supposedly-retired pop singer Justin Bieber failed to make his fans come out to theaters with his new music doc Believe which debuted to an estimated $2M from 1,037 locations for a flimsy $1,942 average. The five-day tally since its Christmas launch was a measly $4.3M which is a fraction of the $30.3M that his 2011 film Never Say Never opened to. Believe had only one-third of the screens and was released by Open Road which does not have the marketing muscle of Paramount and its MTV sibling. But still, the new film did not generate any impressive turnout with its opening weekend down an alarming 93% from Bieber's last film.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $171.4M which was up 8% from last year when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stayed at number one with $32.9M; and up 27% from 2011 when Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was in the top spot with $29.4M.

Compared to three-day projections, The Wolf of Wall Street came in a little below my $22M forecast while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was on target with my $13M prediction. 47 Ronin was close to my $9M projection and Grudge Match came in below my $13M forecast. Believe debuted well under my $6M prediction.

Comments

Stewart H.

Stewart Hoffman

Saw Wolf - very entertaining, and the three hour running time wasn't an issue for me. Mitty was decent - a collection of great moments that never really come together.

Dec 29 - 03:27 PM

King  S.

King Simba

Wow, Frozen's performance has been amazing. It very nearly took the top spot despite being in theaters for over a month (and against Smaug no less).

Believe really shows how quickly Bieber has faded in popularity. That retirement bit felt like merely an attempt to give fans another reason to see the film and it still performed horribly. At this rate he might as well retire for real.

Dec 29 - 03:47 PM

The Driver

The Driver

I still don't know why the author still includes and puts emphasis on the CinemaScore grade, because it literally means nothing. Everyone I've talked to has absolutely loved The Wolf of Wall Street.

Dec 29 - 04:06 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's interesting for reasons that can be different from judging the film's quality. WOWS is a film designed to rub the audiences' faces in their own status and wealth envy. I can understand why some people were unhappy to be reminded what suckers they are. Truth hurts.

Dec 30 - 05:05 PM

Will Folk

Will Folk

I agree Stewart, Wolf of Wallstreet was awesome. I don't understand why the Cinemascore grade is so low. I thought it was better than American Hustle. I hope it picks up steam as awards season begins. I am glad for the Hobbit, it definitely deserves to keep on getting #1.

Dec 29 - 04:16 PM

Vincent

Dickah Sperman

The Hobbit was too long and overused CGI to the fullest. Wolf was decent, but it overstayed it's welcome and some jokes were flat. I get it they are a bunch of cokeheaded psychos in Wall Street, but it really got annoying after a while. I also was a little disappointed with the climax. I'd probably give it a 5 or 6/10 because DiCaprio was on fire. He lit up the role. Still disappointment.

Dec 29 - 04:19 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

It really is a pity at the "over" use of CGI. I'm not sure why they decided to go full on CGI either. I mean, does anyone really watch the original trilogy and say "Man I wish those Bad Ass Uri-kai were fake CGI". Anybody have any idea why Jackson went almost Full CGI for everything this time around?

Dec 29 - 06:09 PM

Lyle Bandoquillo

Lyle Bandoquillo

Maybe it's cheaper these days to go all CGI

Dec 29 - 06:20 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Possibly to develop a new feel. He probably didn't want us to feel that we were watching the same thing again.

Dec 29 - 07:33 PM

DO NOT FORGET MY NAME

Jesus Christ

I think Leo was on another Oscar hunt.

Dec 29 - 06:50 PM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

It really is a pity at the "over" use of CGI. I'm not sure why they decided to go full on CGI either. I mean, does anyone really watch the original trilogy and say "Man I wish those Bad Ass Uri-kai were fake CGI". Anybody have any idea why Jackson went almost Full CGI for everything this time around?

Dec 29 - 06:09 PM

Lyle Bandoquillo

Lyle Bandoquillo

Maybe it's cheaper these days to go all CGI

Dec 29 - 06:20 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Possibly to develop a new feel. He probably didn't want us to feel that we were watching the same thing again.

Dec 29 - 07:33 PM

Lyle Bandoquillo

Lyle Bandoquillo

Maybe it's cheaper these days to go all CGI

Dec 29 - 06:20 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Possibly to develop a new feel. He probably didn't want us to feel that we were watching the same thing again.

Dec 29 - 07:33 PM

DO NOT FORGET MY NAME

Jesus Christ

I think Leo was on another Oscar hunt.

Dec 29 - 06:50 PM

Luis Garit

Luis Garit

I thought Wolf of Walt Street was awesome, it is my favorite movie of the year. People just love to hate. Really glad for Frozen that movie was great

Dec 29 - 07:16 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

Possibly to develop a new feel. He probably didn't want us to feel that we were watching the same thing again.

Dec 29 - 07:33 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Ehhh, after almost a month to mull over it, I think "Frozen" was over-hyped: slightly clunky storytelling (the trolls are just one big convenient plot device), a couple musical numbers just there for the sake of being there (was there any real reason for "In Summer" to exist?) and an arguably underwhelming central conflict. It's cute, upbeat and definitely a much better option than "Walking with Dinosaurs", but I don't think its quite all it's cracked up to be.

"Wolf" I might wait for video on because of the length, but I do want to check it out.

"47 Ronin" looked terrible, not surprised it flopped. Wish "Walter Mitty" had turned out better than it apparently did; I'll catch it on video.

I feel like a jerk for that smarmy failed-attempt-at-humor comment I made on last week's new releases article regarding Justin Bieber; I guess his fanbase might be starting to move on.

Dec 29 - 08:54 PM

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

Don't forget that Frozen has the benefit of good timing. It's good and it has no real competition for kids too young to see Smaug.

Dec 30 - 06:05 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Oh yeah, definitely; it's in the same position as "Despicable Me 2", being the strongest family film in a very weak period for family entertainment, only in this case there's even less competition. I don't want to bash "Frozen" either, I was really looking forward to it and the "Let it Go" sequence was amazing, but the more I think about it, the more the film just felt contrived and/or calculated, which is sad since on the surface it's good-hearted and sweet.

Dec 30 - 09:39 AM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

I'm glad the The Hobbit and Frozen are holding up so well. I found Desolation of Smaug to be an improvement over An Unexpected Journey and I enjoyed it very much. On the other hand, I loved Frozen. It's a modern Disney classic. That and Catching Fire are tied as my favorite films of the year.

47 Ronin and Grudge Match didn't interest me. I knew Believe was gonna fail. It was put on the release schedule at the last minute and I barely saw marketing. Wolf of Wall Street seems to be diving a lot of people. Let's see how well the movie does in the coming weeks.

Dec 30 - 12:22 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

Did some catching up over Christmas and saw Smaug, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

For part two of The Hobbit, I was rather puzzled; it somehow managed to be worse and better than its predecessor at the same time. The unneeded additions to the story were even more pronounced this time around (I love Legolas, but was he really needed here? Do not even get me started on the whole subplot with Evangeline Lily's she-elf that was pointless to the point of becoming nauseating), but the stuff that was great was really great. I am mainly referring to the completely bonkers barrel sequence, which lived up to the hype, and the entire final sequence with Smaug (not counting the scenes that cut back to Lake Town here, I felt those ruined the tension with the dwarves and Bilbo confronting Smaug, which was something I was genuinely invested in). I was not a fan of what I saw of Smaug before the movie, but it grew on me when I saw him in all his glory on the big screen. Also want to give mad props to Martin Freeman as Bilbo; he is fantastic in the role, and it is a shame The Hobbit has been bloated to three movies, because it has taken the focus so far off of Bilbo that it is easy to forget he is the hero of the story a lot of times. Anytime Freeman or the CGI Smaug was on screen, the movie was gold. My last nitpick comes with the ending. Seriously, Jackson, that is how you leave everybody hanging? I get that it is trilogy from the get go, so we are supposed to be left dangling, but that was such a horrible spot to end the movie.

American Hustle was magnificent. Easily the best ensemble cast of the year, without a single good performance in the entire movie, let alone a bad one; they were all great. Also some of the best, if not the best, dialogue of any film this year. Pure firecrackers coming from everybody on the screen. I think Bale, Adams, and Lawrence are all big contenders for the Oscar this year (especially Bale, who was the complete opposite of what I was expecting going into the movie). All that said, I found the overall story to be kind of weak. Not really bad, but just not too involving. The amazing acting and dialogue keeps you glued to it, though, so despite that knock, I'd still say it was a great movie.

Now, for The Wolf of Wall Street. Man, oh, man what a movie this was. I loved every second of it, Scorsese is still the best alive, no doubt about it. It was excess on top of excess on top of excess. Absolutely venomous satire. The funniest movie of the year, too, with the super-ludes scene being funniest moment I have seen in any movie in a long time. The run time was gratuitous, but that was the point. Like Hot Fuzz points out, a proper satire has to become the subject at its core. Cannot decide if this or The Place Beyond the Pines (a criminally overlooked film that is not going to get any love during awards season) is my pick for best film of the year.

Dec 30 - 12:48 AM

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

The she-elf stuff feels so pointless because it was just invented by Peter Jackson to pad the movie out. It *IS* pointless.

I really wish he had filmed The Hobbit, and not "Peter Jackson presents Lord of the Rings the prequel, occasionally featuring a Hobbit."

Dec 30 - 06:04 AM

Mark Vandrell

Mark Vandrell

Exactly. Or release a home video version The Hobbit: Without all the Dumb Shit.

Dec 30 - 07:09 AM

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

See, I kind of felt that way until I realized what Jackson is doing. He essentially is making a prequel to Lord of the Rings, so he tonally wants to keep the same as the previous three movies. Once I accepted that, I liked the first movie much better and really liked the second movie. Someday someone will make a more faithful, kiddie (and I mean that in the best sense) version of The Hobbit, but for now, I will accept these in the spirit in which Jackson intended them.

Dec 30 - 03:06 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I agree about both American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street. Both are excellent and ridiculous in all the right ways.

Dec 30 - 05:09 PM

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

The she-elf stuff feels so pointless because it was just invented by Peter Jackson to pad the movie out. It *IS* pointless.

I really wish he had filmed The Hobbit, and not "Peter Jackson presents Lord of the Rings the prequel, occasionally featuring a Hobbit."

Dec 30 - 06:04 AM

Mark Vandrell

Mark Vandrell

Exactly. Or release a home video version The Hobbit: Without all the Dumb Shit.

Dec 30 - 07:09 AM

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

See, I kind of felt that way until I realized what Jackson is doing. He essentially is making a prequel to Lord of the Rings, so he tonally wants to keep the same as the previous three movies. Once I accepted that, I liked the first movie much better and really liked the second movie. Someday someone will make a more faithful, kiddie (and I mean that in the best sense) version of The Hobbit, but for now, I will accept these in the spirit in which Jackson intended them.

Dec 30 - 03:06 PM

Chris Eaton

Chris Eaton

Don't forget that Frozen has the benefit of good timing. It's good and it has no real competition for kids too young to see Smaug.

Dec 30 - 06:05 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Oh yeah, definitely; it's in the same position as "Despicable Me 2", being the strongest family film in a very weak period for family entertainment, only in this case there's even less competition. I don't want to bash "Frozen" either, I was really looking forward to it and the "Let it Go" sequence was amazing, but the more I think about it, the more the film just felt contrived and/or calculated, which is sad since on the surface it's good-hearted and sweet.

Dec 30 - 09:39 AM

Mark Vandrell

Mark Vandrell

A Madea Christmas with an estimated $7.4M, down just 12%, for a $43.7M.

Tyler Perry is laughing all the way to the bank. Too bad nobody else is. You would have to be retarded to find his crap funny, do people go see it just because it's a 'black movie'? Terrible.

Dec 30 - 07:07 AM

SecondBest

This Guy

There are some people who find Tyler Perry movies funny. I think humor is subjective, there is no right or wrong sense of humor. He knows his audience and he caters to them. I don't think the fact that it is a 'black movie' is the reason that it makes bank, I think it is the fact that it is a Tyler Perry movie. He makes money and his audience seems to like it...seems like a win win situation.

Dec 30 - 09:43 AM

Mark Vandrell

Mark Vandrell

Exactly. Or release a home video version The Hobbit: Without all the Dumb Shit.

Dec 30 - 07:09 AM

Mark Vandrell

Mark Vandrell

Frozen was ok, kids will like it - though none of the songs are particularly remarkable.

Dec 30 - 08:49 AM

This comment has been removed.

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

"Let it Go" was very good, ESPECIALLY in the film where it has visual accompaniment. The rest of the songs are all pretty charming: "Frozen Heart" is a nice chanting opener, "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman" starts adorable/cute then becomes heartbreaking, "For the First Time in Forever" is so happy it might make your heart skip a beat, "In Summer" is (IMO) unneeded but still a humorously bizarre and somewhat catchy sequence, and "Fixer Upper" is a fun crowd number. "Love is an Open Door" was too poppy-sounding, I thought, but the choreography made up for it (Anna and Hans doing the robot was hilarious).

Dec 31 - 01:06 AM

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