Unbroken, Into the Woods, Hobbit Light Up Christmas
By John Hamann
December 28, 2014
Fourth spot goes to Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which has turned a soft opening last weekend into the Christmas Box Office Lottery poster child. After opening to only $17 million a weekend ago, fortunes have changed quickly for the three-quel. It had its biggest day of its run so far on Christmas Day, earning $7.3 million on day seven, only to improve on that score the next day. Day eight was Friday, where it earned $7.4 million, 30% more than it earned on its opening day ($5.7 million). Obviously, people were waiting for Christmas to catch up with Ben Stiller and friends – its second weekend was xx% above its opening frame, as Night at the Museum 3 earned $20.6 million this weekend. Without the 12 days of Christmas Box Office, Secret of the Tomb was doomed, given its $127 million cost and $17.1 million opening weekend. Now it has a chance, as after 10 days of release, the family film has earned $55.3 million.
Fifth goes to Annie, which earned $6.1 million on Friday, its highest daily total of its run so far. It went on to earn $16.6 million for the weekend, up 5% from its opening frame. I find it remarkable that there are two musicals (Into the Woods being the other) both targeting families directly, and both succeeding (it must be Christmas). Annie appears to be awful, but the kids must like it, as it has earned $45.8 million so far against its $65 million budget.
Sixth is another big winner over the holidays, the six-weekend-old The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. After earning $7.9 million last weekend, Katniss and company had a strong week and weekend and crossed the $300 million mark on Friday as a result. Following a Christmas Day take of $2.7 million – its biggest weekday since December 2nd – Mockingjay Part 1 earned $10 million this weekend, giving the Lionsgate release an increase over last weekend’s total of 27%. It crosses $300 million on its 36th day, likely slower than Lionsgate would have liked, but was in fact eight days faster than it took Guardians of the Galaxy to do the same. Mockingjay now sits with $306.7 million at the domestic box office and has also crossed the $350 million plateau overseas.
Seventh goes to another new release, this time Mark Wahlberg’s The Gambler. The Paramount release never seemed to be overly embraced by the studio, who released it to only 2,478 venues despite the implosion of The Interview, which had been planned for 3,000 plus theaters. The result led to a $5 million Christmas Day opening, only to fall 31% on Friday to $3.4 million. The crime flick earned $9.3 million over the weekend proper, likely enough for the makers to see their investment returned, but that’s about it. Reviews weren’t kind to The Gambler, as it came in at 48% fresh and the Cinemascore was an awful C+. Still, this one would have gone adrift outside of the holiday season, so smart placement by Paramount will likely help it eke out a profit.