December 14, 2012

EARLY FRIDAY BOXOFFICE: “The Hobbit” Could Hit December Record


It’s impossible to know at this point how the unspeakable events in Newtown on Friday will affect family behavior over the weekend, and even though this tragedy, unlike the Aurora massacre in July, has no direct connection to movies or theaters, the crowds that might have attended matinees of a four-quadrant event like THE HOBBIT:  AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) may well be diminished.  According to very preliminary numbers at Deadline, Hobbit had an opening day (including Thursday midnight shows) of around $37M.  If that number holds, it would be higher than the $21.8M first Friday of Return of the King, the highest-opening Lord of the Rings installment, but not much above that film’s actual opening day, which was on the preceding Wednesday with $34.5M–which was at 2003 ticket prices and no 3D premium.  Hobbit was also higher than the $30.9M opening day for I Am Legend, the current December opening weekend title holder with $77.2M.  Hobbit will probably beat that–in a normal weekend, it would likely get to $90M+–but again, this weekend is atypical for the worst possible reasons.  (The Dark Knight Rises, faced with the Aurora horrors, had a very low weekend multiple, and if that were the case for Hobbit, its weekend could be closer to the high $70Ms.)

Everything else in theaters is a holdover, and most are down a modest 30-35% from last Friday, the exception apparently being SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein), which if its numbers are accurate (no sure thing with this particular film) rode its Golden Globe nomination success to a decline of only about 15%.


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."