Unbroken, Into the Woods, Hobbit Light Up Christmas
By John Hamann
December 28, 2014
The biggest surprise for me is the lack of quality reviews, as Unbroken currently sits at 51% fresh at RottenTomatoes. The Cinemascore was much better at A-, so it will be an interesting race with Into the Woods as the Christmas box office lottery continues. After four days, it has picked up $47.3 million.
Universal made a very shrewd move investing in Unbroken. Originally, Universal had earmarked $120 million for the Laura Hillenbrand book adaption, but turned to Angelina Jolie when she indicated she could do for about half the cost at $65 million. Like Into the Woods, Unbroken will roll out slowly overseas, opening this weekend in the United Kingdom and Spain before rolling out further in January. Given the subject matter and the results so far, Unbroken should have no issue earning $100 million domestically and three times that score overseas.
Third place, then, goes to Into the Woods, the Disney film based on the Steven Sondheim musical. It pulled in $12.2 million on Friday, losing 19% of its opening day draw. It was able to turn that Friday score into a weekend result of $31 million, an outstanding result for a film that cost only $50 million to make (the cast worked for peanuts on this one).
It’s a much stronger first weekend than Les Miserables received when it opened on Christmas Day in 2012, but the calendar configuration was different. Les Mis earned $27.3 million over its first true weekend, but had opened a Tuesday, as that is where Christmas fell that year. Following its first weekend, Les Mis had earned $66.7 million over six days, whereas Into the Woods earned $46.1 million over four days. In 2008, the calendar configuration was the same. That was the year that Marley and Me pulled in $36.4 million over its first weekend and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button earned $26.9 million.
This opening for Into the Woods is on par with Enchanted, Disney’s family musical that opened on November 21, 2007 to $34.4 million, but was limping by the time Christmas rolled around. Into the Woods opened stronger than Mamma Mia!, which took in $27.8 million when it opened in July of 2008. For the genre, the Disney musical competes very well against its brethren, and is also a very strong Christmas opener. Reviews were decent, with an overall score of 72% at RottenTomatoes, but the nation’s top critics liked it more, with a score of 86%. The Cinemascore was only okay coming in at a B, lower than the A that Les Miserables received. It will be interesting to see how that Cinemascore affects its legs going forward.
Overseas, Into the Woods rolls out slowly over the month of January for the most part, but given the $50 million budget, it shouldn’t need too much assistance to see a large profit. Les Mis had earned $100 million plus by its second weekend, and Into the Woods should see a similar score.