Box Office Hot as Smaug Beats Anchorman; Frozen Shines
By John Hamann
December 22, 2013
A slew of new product – including Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Walking With Dinosaurs, as well as expanding films like American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks, started the Christmas box office bonanza with a bang this weekend. The numbers this weekend set up what could be a record breaking Christmas Day, when a further five films open.
Our number one film at the box office is again The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, despite being at number two on Friday versus Ron Burgundy and Anchorman 2. After a solid but not record breaking debut last weekend, the Peter Jackson sequel had to deal with a lot of competition this weekend, but managed to stay on top. After earning $8.6 million on Friday, The Desolation of Smaug owned Saturday and Sunday, as school is now out for Christmas break, so every day over the 12 Days of Christmas will play like a Saturday. The Warner Bros. release pulled down an impressive 3.66 weekend multiplier (weekend gross divided by Friday gross), to earn $31.5 million over the weekend. While the drop compared to last weekend is still quite high at 57%, it is right in line with the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, which fell 56% over the same weekend last year.
The Desolation of Smaug crossed the $100 million mark on Friday, its eighth day of release, which is three days longer than Unexpected Journey, which crossed the same plateau on its fifth day of release after opening to $84 million. An Unexpected Journey crossed the $150 million mark by Sunday of its second weekend, whereas Desolation of Smaug is going to need at least another three days. Like last weekend, though, the original Hobbit had very little competition, whether over its opening frame, or its follow up. Over opening weekend, An Unexpected Journey’s second and third place films earned only $7 million; over its follow up weekend, it dealt with Jack Reacher and This is 40, two films that opened to a combined $26.8 million and finished with disappointing results. This weekend, the second and third placed films earned $50 million, so Smaug has been working uphill against some formidable competition. Given these facts, the result thus far must be seen as positive. It’s going to approach – but likely won’t best – the $300 million mark, but Smaug is still going to dominate worldwide, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it earned the same billion globally that original did.
Second spot goes to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which made the smart move of getting started on Wednesday, a scheduling move I don’t usually support. With this incarnation, though, it allowed Ron Burgundy and friends a chance to be number one for a few days and make some headlines. Anchorman 2 opened on Wednesday to a very strong $8.1 million, beating The Hobbit by as much as $3.3 million. It was certainly front-loaded though, as on Thursday, Anchorman 2 earned $5.1 million, beating The Hobbit by only $100,000. On Friday, Anchorman won by that same $100,000, but the Hobbit sequel took advantage of a much better weekend multiplier to take the weekend. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues had an internal multiplier of 3.0, and leveraged that into a Friday-through-Sunday take of $26.8 million, along with a five-day take of $40 million, a fantastic result for a sequel to a film that’s nine years old.