The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Seven
By David Mumpower
December 28, 2012
Today is the moment during the Twelve Days of Box Office discussion wherein we collate data. Thursday’s daily numbers provide the perfect opportunity to examine late December revenue patterns as well as demonstrate the importance of the calendar configuration. 2012 features one of the worst such configurations possible with Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve falling on Monday. I will demonstrate this in a later column but it applies in every Twelve Days of Box Office column this year. Before then, let’s highlight the biggest story of the day.
The Hobbit accomplished the feat I had mentioned as a possibility yesterday. The Peter Jackson epic overtook Les Miserables to become the number one film in North America once again. Thursday became the 12th day that The Hobbit has claimed first place. Another $10.1 million yesterday raises its North American tally to $189.8 million. This is only part of the story as the fantasy event of the holiday season has already reached $370 million in overseas revenue. I am going to ignore that aspect for now and focus on the domestic side of the box office equation.
Thursday represented the end of The Hobbit’s second week in theaters. Its $189.8 million places the fourth Lord of the Rings title $15.7 million ahead of the pace of The Fellowship of the Ring. I keep mentioning this particular title because it shared the same holiday calendar configuration in 2001. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve both fell on Mondays 11 years ago, the same as now.
The key difference in the release pattern of the two titles is that The Fellowship of the Ring debuted on Wednesday the 19th. The Hobbit snuck in an additional five days of results via its Friday start on December 14th. There is not a one to one comparison to be made. This is why I am using The Fellowship of the Ring’s 14-day take of $174.1 million. Keep in mind that the first Lord of the Rings title’s 14th day was January 1, 2002. In other words, it was already at the end of its Twelve Days of Box Office.
Why is this important? Here are the December weekday performances for The Fellowship of the Ring: $18.2 million, $9.7 million, $7.3 million, $11.6 million, $14 million, $11.1 million and $8.1 million. The $18.2 million occurred on its opening day. Long time readers of this column should easily identify Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and December 26th as the $11.6 million, $14 million and $11.1 million tallies. Even 11 years ago, the basic pattern was still the same.
The Fellowship of the Ring’s situation changed in January. Here are the equivalent weekday performances for the first seven of the month: $10.2 million, $5.2 million, $3.7 million, $1.9 million, $2.2 million, $1.7 million and $1.4 million. Again, there is an easy inference about where New Year’s Day and January 2nd are in this group as opposed to the weekdays when normalcy returns to the box office. January 3rd was better than normal due to the calendar configuration. On the following Monday, January 7th, The Fellowship of the Ring attained only 23% of the box office of the prior Monday, New Year’s Eve.