The Twelve Days of Box Office: Day Two

By David Mumpower

December 24, 2014

Wait, no one has money for fare?

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One of the immutable laws of box office is that Tuesday is the best weekday for movie revenue. As with most laws, there are exceptions. The 12 Days of Box Office can be one of them, depending upon the calendar configuration. With the impending holidays occurring on Thursdays, however, yesterday was business as usual at movie theaters. To wit, every movie in the top ten (and virtually every movie in release) experienced box office growth.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies emerged as North American champion for the seventh consecutive day. After earning $9 million on Monday, the film incrementally increased 9% to $9.8 million yesterday. In the process, its domestic take was boosted to $107.9 million.

Like every other major release, The Hobbit VI is a day away from some glorious box office results. There will be a temporary setback before it gets to the fireworks factory, though. In an odd quirk of holiday box office behavior, Christmas Eve box office will be the worst of the week. So, the final 72-hour Peter Jackson movie as well as the rest of the top 10 will fall backward today before spiking huge on Christmas Day.

Circling back to the most recent calendar configuration in 2008, the top ten films in release generally fell between 25-40% on Christmas Eve. On December 25th, some of them doubled if not tripled their box office. The holiday’s behavioral impact is that dramatic.

While the gap between second and third place was only $200,000 on Monday, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb distanced itself a bit from Annie on Tuesday. The Ben Stiller comedy grossed $4.1 million, an increase of 22%. Annie managed $3.5 million, an increase of “only” 11%. The two films have been neck and neck thus far after five days in release, but Night at the Museum 3 has now earned a little over $2 million more, $24.7 million as opposed to $22.6 million.


Finally, since I don’t want to waste a lot of your time on the holiday, let’s discuss The Hunger Games franchise for just a moment. Yesterday, I mentioned that Mockingjay Part 1 would be trying to match or exceed the box office of its direct predecessor, Catching Fire. In the process, it demonstrates the odd behavior of calendar configuration in combination with anti-holiday box office.

In an odd bit of similarity, Catching Fire and Mockingjay’s release dates are only a day apart. Catching Fire’s holiday configuration is only one away from its successor. Why does this matter? I mentioned yesterday that Catching Fire grossed $2.3 million on its 32nd day while Mockingjay garnered only $1.7 million.

On day 33, the roles are reversed. Catching Fire fell 40% to $1.4 million while, Mockingjay increased 11% to $1.9 million. That sounds like great news for Mockingjay, as it closed the gap somewhat. Alas, there is a logical explanation. Day 33 for Mockingjay occurred on December 23rd. For Catching Fire, it transpired on December 24th aka Christmas Eve. That is the negative box office impact discussed above.

Tomorrow, day 34 for the latest Hunger Games release, the roles will reverse as Mockingjay takes a hit to the tune of 35% or so, while Catching Fire increased 86% to $2.5 million on its 34th day. This is the box office phenomenon revealed in one of the purest examples ever.

Daily Box Office for Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Total Gross
1 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Warner Bros. 9.8 107.9
2 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Fox 4.1 24.7
3 Annie Sony 3.5 22.6
4 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Lionsgate 1.9 293.0
5 Exodus: Gods and Kings Fox 1.6 41.8
6 Big Hero 6 Walt Disney 1.3 192.9
7 Penguins of Madagascar Fox 1.2 66.3
8 Wild Fox Searchlight 0.8 8.7
9 Interstellar Paramount Pictures 0.75 173.3
10 Top Five Paramount Pictures 0.6 13.6



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