Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
December 27, 2014

We've wandered so long. Now we don't know what to do with ourselves.

The fifth day of the Twelve Days of Box Office was predictably outstanding for all films in wide release. The combination of post-holiday vacation for most consumers and ordinary Friday business created a surge for most titles.

The biggest benefactor of holiday box office inflation was not one of the Christmas Day releases. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies increased 19% from its already stellar Thursday revenue of $13.1 million. On Friday, it earned $15.7 million; in the process, it regained first place after sliding to third on Christmas.

How extraordinary is $15.7 million as a daily total? Friday’s revenue effectively matched its combined Tuesday/Wednesday combined total of $15.8 million. It is also the film’s best day of box office since last Sunday. In addition, its Friday-to-Friday decline is only 5%. After starting the week with $89.1 million, the final Lord of the Rings epic now has a domestic total of $142.8 million. Its weekday total of $53.6 million almost matches its opening weekend take of $54.7 million. Amazing, right?

The new releases on Christmas universally declined yesterday. Do not read anything into this turn of events. When Christmas falls on a weekday, it is virtually impossible for a title to maintain its opening day performance the following day. In fact, many films continue to trend downward every day after Christmas.

Keeping the above in mind, the second place movie on Friday was Unbroken. The Angelina Jolie project fell 21% to $12.3 million, giving it a two-day total of $27.9 million. It will not finish in second place for the weekend, though. That honor will belong to Into the Woods, which finished just behind it yesterday. The Disney flick grossed $12.2 million, a 19% drop from Christmas. It has now grossed $27.3 million over two days.

Since the Disney movie is expected to hold better over the weekend, Into the Woods will usurp Unbroken for second place by a couple million. Expect $34 million for Into the Woods and $32 million for Unbroken. The final major new release yesterday, The Gambler, fell from $5 million on Thursday to $3.4 million yesterday. With $8.4 million after two days and some fairly hostile reviews, The Gambler is quickly going to fall out of the awards contention discussion.

The big winner on Friday (other than The Hobbit) is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. After spiking 163% to $7.3 million on Christmas, it increased to $7.4 million yesterday. Folks, that is incredible. Last Friday, its first day in theaters, Night at the Museum 3 debuted to $5.7 million. In other words, it grossed 30% more on its second Friday than on its first day in theaters. That doesn’t happen often.

Annie, which had been relatively even with Night at the Museum until Monday, grossed $6.1 million yesterday. That is a 33% increase from its Christmas take of $4.6 million. It has now earned $35.3 million, well behind the Ben Stiller comedy’s $42.1 million.