The Woman in Black Starts Strong, Hobbit Three-peats
By John Hamann
January 4, 2015
The Battle of the Five Armies cleared the $200 million domestic mark on Friday, its 17th day, which is two days quicker than The Desolation of Smaug, and two days slower than the first Hobbit. It has now earned $220.8 million domestically, and has a realistic shot at $275 million, which would give The Hobbit franchise a combined gross of $785 million domestic against the three-film budget of approximately $745 million. While the domestic side may not be the best-case scenario for Warner Bros. and New Line, the worldwide take stands at $2.65 billion as of today, and will finish closer to $3 billion. So, even if Warner Bros. had an expenditure of $2 billion for production and worldwide advertising costs, they will still mint a cool billion off The Hobbit series (and then finally be done with it).
Second place goes to Into the Woods, one of our Christmas season success stories. The Into the Woods and Unbroken rivalry has been a close match throughout the holidays, and the two came in to the weekend less than $3 million apart. Into the Woods opened last weekend with $31.1 million, and fell 39% this weekend to $19.1 million. Interestingly, Into the Woods has kept slightly ahead of Unbroken despite being out to about 600 fewer venues. Into the Woods cost Disney only about $50 million to make, as the star studded cast worked for peanuts. The result will be a huge financial win for the studio. The musical should finish around $130 million, and then do significantly more business away from home. So far, Into the Woods has earned $91.1 million stateside and will be rolling out overseas throughout January.
Unbroken finishes in third place once again this weekend. Angelina Jolie`s biopic about the late Louis Zamperini had a weekend take of $18.4 million, off 40% compared to the December 26th - 28th weekend. That leaves the Universal release with $87.8 million in the kitty so far and should to a domestic total in the range of $130 million. With a budget of $65 million, that puts Unbroken into a very strong position, as it would need only $50-$75 million in overseas business to find a profit after production and marketing costs are considered. Given the global themes within Unbroken, and the presence of Jolie, this should be no problem for the biopic. It is being given a slower rollout overseas, but we should see an indication of where it is headed in those international venues throughout the month of January. Regardless, Unbroken is a win for Universal, as this could have gone either way for the studio since biopics can be tough films to sell.
Fourth spot goes to our new release this weekend, The Woman in Black 2: The Angel of Death. The Woman in Black 2 got started on Thursday night, earning a strong $1.5 million in previews, but that could have been a blip due to the holiday season. The combined Thursday/Friday number came in second overall, at $7.75 million, or just short of what was expected for the weekend ($9-$11 million). Over the weekend proper, the horror sequel expectedly faded somewhat, but still turned in a powerful opening of $15.1 million from only 2,602 venues.