December 13, 2013

MIDNIGHT BOX OFFICE: Smaug Still Guarding His Gold From “Hobbit”


Warner Bros and Peter Jackson are very, very lucky that THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG is a significantly better movie than last year’s An Unexpected Journey, which will give it strong word of mouth, because early box office indications are that audiences, burned by Journey, are initially dubious about spending 3 more hours in Middle-Earth.  Last night’s midnight screenings of Smaug, following exactly the US release pattern of Journey (neither film played Thursday evening shows, unlike most recent franchise openings), brought in $8.8M, down 32% from Journey’s $13M midnight start.  That could have led to a weekend in the $55-60M range, which would have been seen as a disaster for an epic that, with worldwide marketing, cost in the neighborhood of $400M–but as noted, the fact that this installment of the franchise is actually fun will doubtless spread, and numbers will stabilize over the weekend.

Here’s how the Unexpected Journey $84.6M opening weekend played out:

Friday:  $37.1M (including $13M from midnight screenings)

Saturday:  Down 25% to $27.7M

Sunday:  Down 29% to $19.8M

Unexpected Journey played strongly through the holidays (it made about $91M between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) for a US total of $303M.  That, added to an international total of $714M, gave it a worldwide $1B.  (Note:  the overseas release pattern is slightly different this time, with Japan held for early 2014 and a few territories opening next week, so international comparisons this weekend won’t be hobbits-to-hobbits.)

Stay with ShowbuzzDaily for Hobbit box office reports all weekend!


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."