Weekend Wrap-Up

The Hobbit and Five Armies Barely Bail Out Box Office

By John Hamann

December 21, 2014

Dwarves don't dance.

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Fourth is Exodus: Gods and Kings, and is neither a god nor a king of the box office as it imploded this weekend. After debuting to $24.1 million last weekend, the Ridley Scott flick earned only $8.1 million this weekend, giving it a drop of 67%. This is terrible news for the $140 million epic, as it will now struggle to earn $75 million domestically, which means it will have to earn $325 million plus overseas to find a profit. With The Hobbit dominating overseas, that’s going to be difficult as well, leaving Fox with an uphill battle to find redemption.

Fifth is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which has a decent hold thanks to the implosion of Exodus and some weak performances from the openers. After a $12.7 million fourth frame last weekend, Katniss and company fell only 39% this weekend to $7.8 million. The total for the $125 million film has now reached $289.2 million and should be a lock for $300 million. It has also passed the $350 mark overseas.

Reese Witherspoon’s Wild is sixth, but likely didn’t pop the way Fox Searchlight was hoping it would when it moved from 116 venues last weekend to 1,016 this weekend. Wild improved on last weekend’s result of $1.5 million by 171% as it pulled in $4.2 million. The bad news is that it moves from a venue average of $13,198 last weekend to $3,911 this weekend. Fox Searchlight will have to hope that strong word-of-mouth propels it through the busy Christmas season.

Like Exodus, the result for Top Five also went in the toilet this weekend. After debuting last weekend to $6.9 million, the Chris Rock vehicle lost 48% of its audience this weekend, leaving it with $3.6 million. Top Five dipped despite Paramount adding 300+ screens. The dramedy now has a running total of $12.5 million, and unless something odd happens, it will top out with about $25 million.

Animated films Big Hero 6 and Penguins of Madagascar finish with very similar results. Big Hero 6 finished eighth, picking up $3.6 million, and dropping 48%. Penguins of Madagascar earned $3.5 million and fell 51%. Big Hero 6 improved its take to $190.4 million, while Penguins grew its total to $64.2 million. While there are no new animated entries coming for Christmas, there is a lot of family fare. Both Big Hero 6 and Penguins may do okay over the holidays; however, with the lower weekend totals, the impact of the Christmas bump will be limited for both.


A Bollywood fantasy/comedy finished in 10th this weekend, taking advantage of a weak bottom half of the top 10. P.K., a movie that features spaceships and singing, earned $3.5 million from only 272 venues. It had almost as strong of a per location average as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as its number was $12,868 compared to Hobbit 3's $14,508.

In limited release, The Imitation Game added only nine screens, and earned $1.6 million. That gives it a dip of 36% weekend-to-weekend, and it should expand shortly. It has a current take of $19.8 million. Inherent Vice stayed at the five venues it had last weekend. Last weekend, the Paul Thomas Anderson flick earned $328,000 from those theaters; this weekend, it earns $147,000.

Overall this weekend, the top 12 is much stronger than last weekend, and is a lot strong the last time the holiday season had Christmas land on a Thursday (2008). That year, the weekend before Christmas earned only $80.7 million, after a Jim Carrey flick (Yes Man), a Will Smith movie (Seven Pounds) and animated feature (The Tale of Despereaux) all flopped. This weekend, the top 12 earned $128.3 million, almost all of which came from the top three films. That's still quite a bit less than last year on the same weekend, which was $137.1 million.

Christmas Day brings more films, despite The Interview’s disappearing act. Unbroken unspools at more than 3,000 venues, and Into the Woods debuts on more than 2,000 screens. The box office will need to rely on this weekend’s openers as well for theater owners to have a happy Christmas.

Top Weekend Box Office for 12/19/14-12/21/14 (Estimates)
Rank Film Distributor Estimated Gross Weekly Change Running Total
1 The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies WARNER BROS. $56,220,000 New $90,627,000
2 Night At the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox $17,300,000 New $17,300,000
3 Annie Sony $16,300,000 New $16,300,000
4 Exodus: Gods And Kings Fox $8,065,000 - 67% $38,902,000
5 Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 Lionsgate $7,750,000 - 39% $289,227,200
6 Wild FOX SEARCHLIGHT $3,750,000 + 145% $6,810,737
7 Top Five Paramount $3,570,000 - 48% $12,456,000
8 Big Hero 6 Disney $3,563,000 - 41% $190,441,000
9 Penguins of Madagascar Fox $3,525,000 - 51% $64,172,000
10 P.K. Utv $3,500,000 New $3,500,000
11 Interstellar Paramount $2,600,000 - 52% $171,433,000
12 Horrible Bosses 2 WARNER BROS. $2,175,000 - 53% $47,750,000
  Also Opening/Notables
  Inherent Vice WARNER BROS. $147,000 - 55% $600,000
  The Imitation Game Weinstein Co. $895,000 + 5% $3,192,000
  Foxcatcher Sony Classics $954,000 + 163% $4,438,000
  The Theory of Everything Focus Features $1,590,000 - 36% $19,823,000
  Birdman FOX SEARCHLIGHT $820,000 - 37% $22,159,047
  Dumb And Dumber To Universal $790,000 - 72% $83,699,160
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations
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