December 16, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The weekend looks a little softer than it did yesterday ($131 million for the top 12 films rather than $142 million).  The Hobbit is looking like an $85 million opening weekend instead of almost $99 million.   Still a record December opening weekend (beating I Am Legend’s $77.2 million opening weekend December 14-16, 2007) but not at our overly bullish $100+ million forecast. 

The ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Final estimates for films opening wide this weekend:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($285 million, below the lowest Lord of the Rings performance — see track below).

Second week film: Playing for Keeps ($14 million, up from the initial $10 million estimate last week).

Third week film: Killing Them Softly ($17 million, down from the $20 million estimate the first two weeks).

Fourth week films:  Rise of the Guardians ($90 million, up from the $85 million estimate the last two weeks but down from the initial $117 million estimate in weekend one), Life of Pi  ($87 million, up slightly from the $82 to $84 million estimates the first three weeks) and Red Dawn ($47 million, up somewhat from the $38 to $43 million estimates the first three weeks).


Weekend 50: December 14-16, 2012 ($ millions)
Pre-Wknd Showbuzz Forecast Early Weekend Estimate % change vs last wknd Showbuzz Domestic Final Proj.
The Hobbit WB [110] 84.8 285
Rise of the Guardians Par/DW [6.3] 7.4 -29% 90
Lincoln Dis [5.9] 7.2 -19% 134
Skyfall Sony [5.9] 7.0 -35% 289
Life of Pi Fox [4.7] 5.4 -35% 87
Breaking Dawn Part 2 Sum [4.6] 5.2 -43% 284
Wreck-It Ralph Dis [2.7] 3.3 -33% 180
Playing for Keeps FilmDis [3.0] 3.2 -44% 14
Red Dawn FilmDis [2.2] 2.4 -43% 47
Silver Linings Playbook Weins [—] 2.1 -4%
Flight Par [1.7] 1.9 -38% 97

Note: The table above summarizes an early look at the weekend.  The first column is a reminder of each film’s ShowBuzzDaily Forecast for the weekend (in brackets).  The second column, on which the films are sorted, displays the new weekend projection for each film, based on the Friday numbers (the third column).  The final column is a preliminary estimate of the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Total number for the film’s total run in North America.  A “++” indicates the Domestic number has been upgraded; a “–” indicates a downgrade.


New Line

Critics Positive ($ millions)
Opening Weekend Domestic Domestic Total Overseas Total Worldwide Total
Fellowship of the Ring 12.19.2001 PG13 92% 47.2 315.5 555.9 871.5
The Two Towers 12.18.2002 PG13 96% 62.0 342.5 583.5 926.0
Return of the King 12.17.2003 PG13 94% 72.6 377.8 742.1 1119.9


In case you missed them, click to see this week’s Weekend Predictions.


Total Box Office Volume

The Top 12 Films this weekend are now looking like $131 million total Friday-Sunday, not as high as it looked yesterday but still up 17% from the average comparable weekend the last four years and up 19% from the same weekend last year.

 WEEKEND #50 ($ millions)
Weekend Volume: Top 12 Films Top Movies Opening Each Weekend (Fri-Sun only)
2012 $131 The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey $85
2011 $110 Sherlock Holmes 2 $40, Alvin & Chipmunks 3 $23
2010 $128 TRON: Legacy $44, Yogi Bear $16, The Fighter $12
2009 $130 Avatar $77, Did You Hear About Morgans? $7
2008 $81 Yes Man $18, Seven Pounds $15
Avg 2008-11 $112


Opening Next Week

Opening wide Wednesday (December 19):  Guilt Trip from Paramount (comedy staring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen) and Monsters, Inc 3D from Disney/Pixar (re-released animation from 2001).  Then on Friday, December 21:  This Is 40 from Universal (comedy from Judd Apatow starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann), Jack Reacher from Paramount (crime drama starring Tom Cruise) and Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away (recorded concert from Paramount at a fairly wide 800 theaters).  These films will be compared to the following openers from the same weekend last year:  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($12.8 million opening weekend Fri-Sun and $21.1 million Wed-Sun), Adventures of Tintin ($9.7 million Fri-Sun and $17.7 million Wed-Sun), We Bought a Zoo ($9.4 million Fri-Sun), War Horse ($7.5 million Fri-Sun), and Darkest Hour ($3.0 million Fri-Sun).

International grosses will be updated as available.

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.