Friday Box Office Analysis

The Twelve Days of Box Office Day Seven

by Tim Briody

December 28, 2013

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The holiday weekend is always magical at the box office and 2013 is no exception. Despite no Christmas release conquering theaters this weekend, we still have a number of impressive things happening.


We say it every year. This is the most magical time at the box office where seemingly unlikely things happen. After hanging in the top three since its Thanksgiving release, Frozen found itself in seventh place on Christmas Day, buried by the avalanche of new releases. It was the number one film on Friday with an astounding $10.3 million. Yes, at the Christmas weekend, one of the strongest of the year, the number one film is over a month old. Suddenly, $300 million is a realistic possibility if everything breaks right. Frozen has pulled incredibly high weekend multipliers through its entire run and this weekend shouldn’t be any different. Frozen will take the final weekend of 2013 with $38.1 million, which, by the way, is more than it earned in the previous three weekends.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit added another $10 million on Friday which is a decent recovery after its collapse last weekend, though at this point, $250 million feels like a stretch. It should be just a day or two shy of $200 million at the end of the weekend, which looks to be about $32.8 million.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Ron Burgundy and company take third place with $7.1 million on Anchorman 2's second Friday. It’s pulled in $70.6 million so far, which means it will pass Anchorman’s $85.2 million in the next couple of days, but there’s the nagging feeling that it should have done it sooner. It’s going to cross $100 million by next weekend, which is a good thing. Look for a weekend of $21.3 million.

American Hustle

Now, we have our first Chri…wait, what? This went wide last weekend? Okay, never mind. American Hustle earned $6.4 million on Friday, essentially what it took in last Friday as well. I expect this to continue to hang around for several more weeks as awards and nominations roll in, especially if it walks away with multiple Golden Globes. A weekend of $20 million will send it closer to the $100 million mark.


The Wolf of Wall Street

Finally, all the way down in fifth place on Friday we have our first Christmas Day release, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Starting with a bang on Christmas Day with $9.1 million, it has tapered off to where it earned $6.2 million on Friday, which, really, is fine. Despite good reviews, the problem may be that David O. Russell and American Hustle have out-Scorsese’d Scorsese, thus keeping the edge with American Hustle. I’d look for the two films to be neck and neck for a few weeks (though American Hustle did have that head start) as The Wolf of Wall Street comes in with around $20 million as well.

Saving Mr. Banks

The Tom Hanks film is also propped up by the holiday as Saving Mr. Banks earned $4.7 million yesterday, up 53% from last Friday. It’s arguably the top family option that’s not called Frozen, and that’s likely why it’s gotten a nice holiday boost. A weekend of $15.1 million is still quite solid.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty checks in with $4.5 million on Friday after earning $7.8 million on its Christmas Day opening. It’s not often we make the argument since it’s rarely ever the case, but Walter Mitty might be a film that just simply gets lost in the shuffle amid the ridiculous pile of new releases over the last two weeks. Seriously, after week after week that saw indie films in under 1,000 theaters hang in the top ten for weeks, all but two films in the top *12* came out in the last 15 days. That’s a lot of movies for anybody to catch up on and something had to give. That’s not to say this is a poor performance (more on those in a moment) but The Secret Life of Walter Mitty certainly feels like it could have earned more.

Holiday Losers

The rising tide of this crazy week of box office lifts all boats, but not enough to save 47 Ronin, Grudge Match or Justin Bieber’s Believe from doom.

Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin has only earned $14.1 million since it’s Christmas release, for an even $300,000 per ronin. As David Mumpower pointed out, the ronin each cost Universal a lot more than that, so we’ve probably got the biggest flop of the holiday season right here. A weekend of $10.2 million seems likely here.

Grudge Match, the heavily advertised and least funny looking movie of the holiday season misses the top ten entirely on Friday with $2.4 million. Kevin Hart has found more success in doing stand up movies than scripted ones. He should keep doing that. Give it a weekend of $7.5 million.

Finally, Justin Bieber’s Believe throws under Grudge Match with $770,000 on Friday. As I type this, Justin Bieber has 48 million followers on Twitter and both he and the movie are also among the top trending topics. While it couldn’t have been very expensive to produce, this is an epic failure despite the supposed fan base of the newly retired Mr. Bieber. Not even a half of a percent of his Twitter followers saw Believe on Friday. If that doesn’t tell you anything, nothing will.



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