December 21, 2013

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Hobbits vs. Anchormen


Early numbers at Deadline have ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) and THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Warners/MGM) just about neck-and-neck at the Friday box office, both in the $8.5-9M neighborhood.  However, as a new arrival, Anchorman is likely to do softer business on Saturday, which should give Hobbit the weekend win.

For Hobbit, an $8.5M Friday would be down a giant 73% from its opening day, and while that will moderate over the course of the weekend given how frontloaded that first day was, it still probably means a Weekend 2 drop of at least 60%, steeper than the 56% fall that last year’s An Unexpected Journey took in its second weekend.  That will widen the gap between the two movies to perhaps $25M, and suggests that Smaug will end up with around $250-260M in the US, significantly below Journey‘s $303M.

$8.5M on Friday would mean a 70% Thursday-to-Friday increase for Anchorman, a pace that would continue to fall between the recent Wednesday-opening comedies This Is the End (up 55% on Friday) and We’re the Millers (up 81%).  Neither of those two, of course, had the bonanza of Christmas week to look forward to, so even with a $25M weekend ($38M since Wednesday), Anchorman should still top $100M before it’s done.

The real story of the weekend, though, may be AMERICAN HUSTLE (Sony), which is reportedly heading for a $6M Friday.  That’s below the Hobbit and Anchorman numbers, but Hustle is in only 2507 theatres, 2/3 as many as Anchorman and an even lower percentage of Hobbit‘s, so its per-theatre number should be as good if not better than theirs.  For a low-concept critical favorite that fully expects to still be in theatres a month from now, when the Oscar nominations are announced, an $18M weekend would be a terrific start.

SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) is having a less impressive expansion to 2210 theatres, with $3M expected on Friday and a weekend that could touch $10M.  It’s a relatively inexpensive movie, so profit isn’t a big issue here, but Disney will hope that word-of-mouth will kick in over the holidays.

The truly dreadful WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (20th) is getting what it deserves, with around $2M on Friday and perhaps an $8M weekend despite 3D premium prices at 3231 theatres.  It”ll pull in some cash over the holidays as parents frantically search for something to see with the kids, but looks like it’ll be no competition for FROZEN (Disney), which in its 4th weekend beat Dinosaurs handily on Friday with $5M (virtually dead even with last Friday) and should have a $20M weekend with a huge holiday period ahead. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (Lionsgate) is holding well too, with perhaps another $10M to come in its 5th weekend.  A MADEA CHRISTMAS (Lionsgate) will probably drop around 50% from its opening weekend to $8-9M.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."