December 16, 2012



THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY (Warners/MGM) will shatter all the December records it was expected to shatter, but based on preliminary numbers at Deadline, its projected $85M weekend is somewhat soft, considering that it had $37.5M on Friday alone.  That’s about a 2.25 weekend multiple, considerably lower than The Avengers (2.57) or Skyfall (2.77) among recent hits.  It’s about the same as The Hunger Games, but that picture’s teen audience gave it a considerably higher Thursday midnight gross ($19.7M vs. $13M), which addsd to its frontloading.  (Note:  it’s impossible to do apples-to-apples comparisons with the Lord of the Rings movies, because they all opened on Wednesdays–however, Hobbit‘s reported $28.1M on Saturday is only $600K ahead of the first Saturday for Return of the King, which was King‘s 4th day of release rather than its 2d, not to mention a number calculated at 2003 ticket prices with no 3D or IMAX premiums.)  Also, that $85M estimate assumes a 32% Sunday drop (after a 25% Saturday decline), which would be a strong hold this time of year–not impossible, certainly, but better than any picture managed in last week’s Top 10.  We won’t know until Monday what the actual weekend number is.  Another imponderable here is whether any shortcoming in ticket sales reflects word-of-mouth on the film or the exceptional nature of this weekend, as the nation recovers from yet another violent tragedy.

The Hobbit’s gross will be roughly 10x the next highest grossing films of the weekend.  Most holdovers will be down 35-40% from last weekend, the exceptions being SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Weinstein), which is projecting just a 10% decline in its limited run of 371 theatres, and LINCOLN (Disney/DreamWorks/20th) down 25% in 2285.  On the other extreme, PLAYING FOR KEEPS (FilmDistrict) and THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 2 (Summit/Lionsgate) will fall more like 45-50%.

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."