The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Eight
By David Mumpower
December 30, 2014

Evil step-family members get to have all the fun.

Box office for December 29th was stellar as expected. To wit, all returning films in the top 10 but two improved yesterday from the prior Monday. And one of those experienced an expected drop. Effectively, if you are involved with any wide release except Exodus: Gods and Kings, yesterday was a good day.

For the 12th time in 13 days, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies finished in first place. Its run of box office domination feels as eternal as the actual length of the average Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movie. Notably, The Hobbit Will Never Die fell from $9 million last Monday to $7.5 million yesterday, weekly decline of 17%; however, this drop was predictable.

Out of all the wide releases, the ones with the largest box office totals are the ones most likely to decline. Bigger numbers are more difficult to sustain. With regards to box office pace, The Hobbit-est is tearing up the box office. It had earned $89.1 million after its first weekend. Thanks to the magic of the Twelve Days of Box Office, it has grossed an additional $86.5 million over the last eight days, a pace of just under $11 million a day. Considering that the majority of society was largely indifferent to this release, its holiday domination is impressive.

By Lord of the Rings standards, Battle of the Five Armies is now doing better than you may have been led to believe. It is roughly $25 million ahead of the pace of Desolation of Smaug, which averages out to about $2 million per day. It has almost caught up with the pace of An Unexpected Journey, which grossed $179.6 million over its first 13 days. Given how far out of favor the franchise has fallen, Battle of the Five Armies has to be deemed a relative success now. It’s a strong demonstration of how much audiences gravitate to final franchise films.

The most important films under discussion this week will be the weekend’s pleasant surprises, Into the Woods and Unbroken. Yesterday, Into the Woods held better, falling only 26% to $6.1 million. It has a current box office take of $52.3 million and could hit $100 million by this time next week if everything breaks right. That’s a scintillating pace for a musical. Even Mamma Mia! needed 23 days to reach that milestone.

Unbroken fell 31% to $5.2 million. Before you read anything into that decline, I would add that its current box office tally of $51.2 million is not far away from what many considered its best case scenario for final domestic take. Few people believed it capable of grossing $75 million, a total it should reach by the end of the Twelve Days of Box Office.

The films rounding out the top five were last week’s other top three entrants, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie. At this time last week during the first Twelve Days column, the Ben Stiller Fox release had earned $20.5 million, $3.4 million of which occurred on that Monday. Yesterday, it grossed $4.5 million (!) and has now earned $59.2 million after 11 days. Just to be clear, it was pacing at $5.1 million a day during its first four days of release, normally the best four days. Now, it is pacing at $5.4 million a day after 11 days. This stat alone exemplifies the constant power of holiday season box office.

The situation with Annie is not quite as rosy, but it is similar. On day four, Annie grossed $3.2 million to bring its four-day take up to $19.1 million. Yesterday, it earned $3.8 million, an increase of 19% Monday over Monday. It has now accumulated $49.6 million after 11 days. So, its average after four days was $4.8 million and now it has slowed only slightly to $4.5 million daily. Sustainability is the calling card of holiday box office performance.

On a site note, thanks to Tim and John for covering for me, allowing me the rare opportunity to visit my wife’s family in Illinois over the holidays. I should add that the previously announced Top Film Industry Stories has been delayed until next Monday because…well, we would like people to read them all. Site traffic has a tendency to crater on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so we’re pushing them until next Monday. I apologize for the delay.