January 1, 2014

HOLIDAY BOX OFFICE: New Year’s Eve Still “Frozen”


New Year’s Eve box office results were all over the place, with kids still home from school while adults chose some movies (but not others) as their picks to see out the year.  Also, not all studios have yet reported their Tuesday numbers, notably Sony, Universal, Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company.  Still, here’s what we know:

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Warners/MGM) may have narrowly taken the weekend, but since then it’s been all FROZEN (Disney).  The animated smash slipped only 6% on Monday ($7.9M) and 10% on Tuesday ($7.1M), while Hobbit fell 23% ($6.5M) and 15% ($5.5M).  Frozen should have a huge day today and continue to thrive through the weekend, now certain to exceed $300M in the US, which will make it one of the 6 or 7 most successful animated movies in US history (and behind only Toy Story 3 and Finding Nemo from Pixar).  This year’s installment of Hobbit is now $37M behind last year’s An Unexpected Journey, and still running behind it on a day-by-day basis.

SAVING MR. BANKS (Disney) was, a bit surprisingly, the biggest gainer on Dec 31, up a remarkable 36% to $3.9M (after a 22% drop on Monday to $2.9M).  The moderately budgeted movie might hit $50M today, and seems to have the legs for a strong run into 2014.  THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (20th) also did well, up 20% to $3.4M after a 19% drop on Monday to $19.3M.  At a $225M production/marketing cost, however, it’s still a significant underperformer.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (Paramount/Red Granite) has launched a full-out counteroffensive against charges that the film glorifies its greedy characters, with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio seemingly everywhere to swear that truly, they meant to condemn what they were depicting.  That’s important for their Oscar chances.  At the box office, the film is doing OK, dropping 27% on Monday to $4M and 17% on Tuesday to $3.3M, a long way from profitability, which is why it needs solid support from upcoming awards and nominations to sustain it over the next couple of months.  (We don’t have numbers for Sony’s American Hustle.)

Hardly anyone, it seems, wanted to spend New Year’s with Ron Burgundy, as ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (Paramount) tumbled 31% on Tuesday (to $3M) on top of a 25% drop on Monday.  It’s a hit, and with $91.1M already it will certainly pass $100M, but it seems to be running out of steam.  Comedy fans aren’t exactly flocking to GRUDGE MATCH (Warners), but it did get some New Year’s Eve business, up 10% to $1.6M after a 24% drop on Monday.

It’s fun to make jokes about Justin Bieber, but this is ridiculous:  BELIEVE (Open Road), after a 22% drop on Monday to $416K, crashed by 53% on New Year’s Eve to $195K.  After a full week in release at over 1000 theatres, the concert movie hasn’t made it to $5M.

The only limited release to issue numbers was HER (Warners), down 19% on Monday to $170K and another 15% on Tuesday to $145K at 47 theatres.


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."