The Sound of Chainsaws (and Money) Ring in the New Year
By John Hamann
January 6, 2013
Finishing second is Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s bloody blaxploitation spaghetti western, which critics adore. This weekend, Django earned a still solid $20.1 million and dropped 33% from last weekend when it was also in second, earning $30.1 million. The Jamie Foxx/Leonardo DiCaprio flick crossed the $100 million mark this weekend, and has a domestic gross so far of $106.4 million. That means that in the 13 days since it opened on Christmas Day, the Weinstein release has earned an average of $8.2 million per day, which shows how lucrative the holiday season can be. Django Unchained has already become the third biggest western title ever, behind only Dances with Wolves ($184.2 million) and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit ($171.2 million). The difference between the $100 million Django Unchained and these films is budget, as Dances With Wolves cost only $22 million to make in 1990, and True Grit cost Paramount $38 million to make in 2010. At this point, it looks like Django will push toward the $200 million mark if Oscar shines its light, if not, $175 million might be a more realistic finish.
The Hobbit, which had a chance to four-peat this weekend, fails and falls to third in its fourth weekend out of the gate. A weekend ago, The Hobbit earned $31.9 million. This weekend the shine comes off, with The Hobbit earning only $17.5 million, good for a 45% decline. The big drop almost had to be coming, as this one has already grossed $263.8 million at the domestic box office and has earned more than a half billion overseas. Still, despite these numbers, I believe viewers of The Hobbit are down on the franchise, so it will be extremely interesting to see how the next film performs. The Hobbit should finish with about $300 million on the domestic front. It needs $313 million to beat Fellowship of the Ring, without taking into consideration inflation on a film that is 12 years old.
That puts Les Miserables down to fourth, and like The Hobbit, the hold this weekend isn’t so great. Les Mis earned another $16.1 million from its 2,904 venues, but was down a somewhat alarming 41% from the previous frame. Since opening so big on Christmas Day ($18.5 million), the musical has been seemingly sliding downward ever since. Still, the $61 million-budgeted epic has averaged $8 million over the 13 days it’s been open, and has a gross so far of $103.6 million. Like Django Unchained, it crossed the $100 million mark this weekend; however Les Miserables seems to be stepping out, while Django is still going strong.
Parental Guidance is fifth this weekend, as I guess there are still people that enjoy the old-fashioned kick in the groin jokes. The Billy Crystal picture earned another $10.1 million and fell a mere 30% compared to last weekend’s take of $14.6 million. Made for two balls of twine and a bucket of water (or $20 million), Parental Guidance has now earned $52.7 million, and is proof of why studios release films at Christmas.
Jack Reacher drops to sixth, but despite what some media outlets are reporting, Jack Reacher is going to be a success for Paramount. This weekend, the Tom Cruise film earned another $9.3 million at the box office and declined 32% compared to last weekend’s $13.6 million take. Since opening, the action flick has brought in $64.8 million on the domestic front, and is just getting started overseas, where it’s already tallied $22.5 million. Remember, this one was made for $60 million, and should approach $90 million on the domestic front. In the end, Jack Reacher should be Tom Cruise’s second biggest picture out his last six, as this should outgross Knight and Day ($76.4 million – cost $117 million), Valkyrie ($83 million – cost $75 million), Rock of Ages ($38.5 million) and Lions for Lambs ($15 million).