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The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Two

Weekend Wrap-Up: One Hobbit to Rule the Holidays

By John Hamann

December 23, 2012

Hobbits are *stabby*.

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Finishing an okay second is Jack Reacher, the new Tom Cruise movie based on the Lee Child novel. Surprisingly, Jack Reacher is the only fresh new film this weekend at RottenTomatoes (other than Monsters, Inc., which isn’t even close to new), and audiences sought it out more than its comedic brethren. Jack Reacher earned a lukewarm $15.6 million this weekend from 3,352 venues, giving it a venue average of $4,654.

This is another team up for Tom Cruise with Christopher McQuarrie (writer of Valkyrie, writer of The Usual Suspects). Valkyrie was released at Christmas in 2008, and earned $21 million from the 26th-28th, and $29 million if we include Christmas Day, on its way to $83 million. Jack Reacher has a few extra days to work with, but considering softer opening frame and two more big releases on the 25th, this one could be in the middle rungs of the top ten come the New Year. However, Jack Reacher should earn an average of $5 million a day between opening and January 2nd (at least), which alone is $65 million. Jack Reacher cost Paramount a fairly inexpensive $60 million, so this one is going to escape just fine.




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This Is 40 managed a third place finish this weekend, but the totals aren’t great, especially compared to the sort-of original, Knocked Up, which opened to $30.7 million in 2007. This Is 40 took in only $12 million from 2,912 venues, and earned a venue average of $4,132. Critics were split down the middle on this one, with reviews at the time of this writing coming in at 49%. For a movie like this, reviews need to be better, as Knocked Up was 90% fresh. Knocked Up was also about the Seth Rogen character – he was the one we all laughed at and with – not the Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann characters. They kept Knocked Up grounded. In This Is 40, they just put it in the ground. Like Jack Reacher, though, This is 40 was made on the cheap, costing Universal only $35 million to bring it to the screen. If it averages $3 million per day over the 12 or 13 days of Christmas, it will earn at least $40 million, and at worst, be a push for the studio.

Fourth spot goes to Rise of the Guardians, as little kids only have this and Monsters, Inc. to choose from. One is 11 years old, the other is five weekends old – which would you pick? After a gross last weekend of $7.1 million, Rise of the Guardians earned $5.9 million this weekend, a decline of only 17%. Had Paramount waited a couple of weekends for release, Rise of the Guardians might have been a number two film instead of a number four film, and would likely be in a better position to recoup the $145 million budget. Instead, Rise of the Guardians has a gross so far of $80 million, and has no chance of matching the production budget stateside. The good news is that it has earned over $120 million overseas, so it should make out okay in the end and be a long term seller on Blu-ray and as a Christmas download.


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