The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Eight

by Tim Briody

December 29, 2012

I'm a long way from Miami Vice.

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The final weekend of the year is always the most fascinating to cover. What we get is a weekend where virtually everything in theaters rises from the previous weekend (or at the worst, drops very slightly). Of Friday's top ten, only one film that was in release seven days ago shows a decline, and it's the most obvious choice. With New Year's Eve on Monday, weekend multipliers will be fairly strong again, much like last weekend, before peaking on New Year's Day and then a return to normalcy mid-week.

After the second best December 25th of box office ever, three very strong releases carry the box office into the new year, though the winner might surprise you.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

On Thursday, The Hobbit overtook the Christmas openers and regained the top spot on the daily box office. It remains there on Friday as it looks to win its third straight weekend. Peter Jackson's epic took in $10.7 million yesterday, up 6% from last Friday as it crosses the $200 million mark in its 15th day of release. Last weekend saw The Hobbit earn a 3.67 weekend multiplier as its Sunday was boosted by many having off Christmas Eve. The feat should be duplicated this weekend without much concern as it takes the final weekend of 2012 with $38.5 million.

Django Unchained

After opening on Christmas Day in second place (because when you think Christmas, you think blaxsploitation spaghetti western by Quentin Tarantino), Django Unchained slipped to third on Wednesday and Thursday but finds itself back in second on Friday with $9.7 million. It's earned $43 million since Christmas Day, despite no help from Spike Lee. The best reviewed film of the holiday season is gunning to top Inglourious Basterds as the highest grossing film of Tarantino's career. A very impressive weekend of $32 million helps it along that path.

Les Miserables

After exploding out of the gate with $18.1 million on Christmas Day, the latest film adaptation of Les Miserables falls to third place on Friday with an additional $9.4 million, now having earned an impressive $48.4 million in its first four days of release. Chicago's $170.6 million (the highest grossing musical) is pretty safe at this point but it's certainly a lock for $100 million which puts it in rare company. It's pretty close to Django Unchained on Friday and there's a decent chance it passes it over the rest of the weekend, though with above average Saturdays and Sundays all around there's no guarantee of that. A weekend of $31 million is still very good and the last few days have certainly rescued the holiday box office after a very weak first three weeks of the month.

Parental Guidance

The disturbingly successful Parental Guidance, the forgotten Christmas Day release, adds another $5 million on Friday. It's got a fairly respectable $19.9 million in its first four days of release. $17 million feels about right as it looks to lap the rest of last weekend's releases.

Notable Holdovers

There's great news for everyone in the top ten, unless your name is Jack Reacher. It's the only holdover that does not see an increase from last Friday, and even then it's only down 10% to $4.5 million. The Tom Cruise action flick is suffering from recent news events such as the Sandy Hook shooting and also having some of its audience taken by Django Unchained (where at least you know what you're getting as it's a Tarantino film)

Everything else sees expected Friday-to-Friday increases. This Is 40 is up 10% from last Friday, Lincoln is up an astonishing 71% and even the holiday season's only real flop, The Guilt Trip, rebounds 45%.

How good is this weekend? Even post-Christmas, Rise of the Guardians is up 14%. Of course, that doesn't come close to Monsters, Inc. 3D's 62% jump from last Friday. This is what happens when people have all the time they need to see movies (and studios provide movies people want to see).

We'll be back tomorrow with weekend estimates as we hit the box office money train reaches its crescendo.


Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 38.5
2 Django Unchained 32.1
3 Les Miserables 31.2
4 Parental Guidance 17.0
5 Jack Reacher 14.4
6 This Is 40 13.9
7 Monsters Inc. 3D 8.0
8 Lincoln 7.9
9 The Guilt Trip 7.4
10 Rise of the Guardians 6.7



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