The Twelve Days of Box Office Day Ten

By David Mumpower

December 31, 2013

She and Mr. Freeze could do a lot of damage together.

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With Christmas week in the rearview mirror, box office neophytes may believe that the fun and games are over for Hollywood releases. You know better. While New Year’s week rarely outdoes Christmas, it is still a lucrative period for almost all films in release. The lone exceptions are bombs that simply lack the requisite demand to entice anyone into the theater.

Since today is the start of an overnight party for most of you, today’s column is abbreviated. Let’s keep it short and sweet for a change. The top two films this holiday season remain the same. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Frozen have been the only two movies to lead the North American box office charts since December 21st. Since that happens to be roughly the same date as the start of the 12 Days of Box Office, both titles have obviously done very well over the holidays.

The Desolation of Smaug has done better overall, which is why it has finished in first for eight of the last 10 days. Frozen, however, has accomplished so much more relative to expectations. It also has attained enough that New Year’s week is looking to be a great start to 2014 for Disney, the company that dominated 2013 to a historic degree.


Yesterday was the second to last day of 2013, and Frozen won for the second time in four days. Its $7.9 million on Monday represents a 9% increase from last Monday’s already impressive $7.2 million. Lately, Frozen has behaved like one of those sci-fi monsters that keeps growing in size to the point that it terrifies everyone who used to be able to look it in the eye. Over the last eight days, Frozen has earned $64 million. Consider that it needed 14 days from December 8th to December 22nd to gross the same amount. That statistic is the tell-tale sign of how holiday box office inflation can carry a title to stratospheric box office levels. With $256 million in the bank, Frozen has effectively matched The Blind Side and I Am Legend, other recently dominant holiday titles.

Sliding to second place yesterday was The Hobbit 2; it earned $6.5 million during its 18th day in theaters. Unlike Frozen, the Peter Jackson movie declined from Monday-to-Monday. Its 17% drop is actually a bit problematic in that almost all the other top 10 movies yesterday increased from seven days ago. Its $196 million places the sequel $32.5 million behind the last Lord of the Rings title. That is a bit worse than the last time we compared the two titles, but the difference is probably calendar configuration related. We will know for sure in seven days. Right now, I can formulate two conclusions, though. The first is that The Desolation of Smaug will be the least popular of the five Lord of the Rings films in North America. The second is that Frozen is going to out-gross The Hobbit 2, which would be a stunning turn of events.

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