The Woman in Black Starts Strong, Hobbit Three-peats
By John Hamann
January 4, 2015
It’s the start of a new year, and we start with a minor bang with The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, which gets off to a much stronger start than anyone anticipated. In the end, though, it’s just like last year, with The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies repeating for the third consecutive weekend.
It’s the final weekend before everyone heads back to work and school, so the Friday and Saturday portion of the weekend was set to continue its holiday trend, with Sunday shriveling back to pre-holiday numbers. It’s the end of the box office lottery season but is enough to allow for a breakout opener, and also means our holiday holdovers would have another weekend above $15 million or more.
To start January, our only new release is the usual – a horror film. This time it is The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, a sequel to the Daniel Radcliffe original that opened in early February 2012 to $20.9 million. It earned $54.3 million stateside, but took in $127.7 million worldwide, against a budget of only $15 million. Those numbers obviously begat a sequel and the Angel of Death was born. An opening in the bottom half of the top ten was expected, but it’s a new year, so anything can happen.
Our number one film is The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, on top again for the third straight weekend. The Peter Jackson sequel has been in the top spot for every day of its run so far save one – Christmas Day – when it came in third against openers Unbroken and Into the Woods. Following a stunning opening Friday-to-second Friday drop last weekend of only 6%, reality comes crashing in this weekend, as the third Hobbit had a third Friday decline of 46% compared to its second Friday. With the Friday depreciation and the severe decline on Sunday, not to mention $200 million in domestic sales prior to the start of the weekend, The Battle of the Five Armies was set up to experience a steep drop this weekend.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies turned an $8.375 million gross on Friday into a third weekend take of $21.9 million, off 47% from the previous frame. The original Lord of the Rings films all spent their third weekends in the Christmas wrap-up frame, and fell an average of 44.5% in their respective third weekends, so Battle of the Five Armies is continues to trend in the right way. However, the actual weekend take is below the average when compared to the LOTR films, as they averaged $25.4 million after three weekends.
Compared to the first two films in The Hobbit series – keeping in mind that the two earlier films opened a weekend earlier - Battle of the Five Armies earned less in its third weekend due to calendar configuration. Nonetheless, it has easily outgrossed the Desolation of Smaug ($189.5 million) after three frames, and is tracking well against the original Hobbit, which had $221.6 million after three weekends.