December 18, 2014

Wednesday Box Office: “Hobbit” Opens Big, But…


THE HOBBIT:  THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (New Line/MGM/Warners) opened on Wednesday to $24.5M, which is both the 12th-highest opening Wednesday ever (and 3rd-highest in December) and the lowest opening day for a Peter Jackson Tolkien adaptation since The Fellowship of the Ring ($18.2M) back in 2001.  The Armies start was below the Wednesday opening days of The Two Towers ($26.2M) and Return of the King ($34.5M), as well as the Friday launches for An Unexpected Journey ($37.1M) and The Desolation of Smaug ($31.2M).  ]

If Armies has the same 5-day trajectory as Fellowship, it could reach $88M by Sunday, and the multiple would even be higher if it follows the pattern of Two Towers or Return of the King.  However, a potentially worrisome sign is that Armies earned over 45% of its opening day box office on Tuesday night with $11.2M.  That may suggest extreme frontloading (the Thursday night percentages for the other Hobbit titles were 35% for Unexpected Journey and 28% for Desolation of Smaug), akin to the 47% for the final Harry Potter and the 44% for the Wednesday-opening Twilight:  Eclipse.  If Armies were to be as front-loaded as the latter, it would only reach $56.3M by Sunday.  Eclipse plunged 65% on its 2d day of release, and Fellowship of the Ring fell only 47%, so we’ll have a better idea tomorrow of where Armies stands.

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."