by Matt Marshall
Moviegoers returned to Middle-earth in fewer numbers this year as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug topped the weekend box office with $73.7 million. Last year’s An Unexpected Journey opened to $84.6 million, setting a new December record. Smaug continues the journey of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and 13 dwarves seeking to take back their mountain from a dragon.
Dropping one spot to second place is Disney’s Frozen with another $22.2 million. The animated fairy-tale featuring the voice talents of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel has already grossed $164.4 million in three weeks in wide release. Tyler Perry’s latest holiday comedy, A Madea Christmas debuted in third with $16.0 million.
Former box office champions, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Thor: The Dark World round out the Top 5 this weekend. Catching Fire claimed the fourth place spot with $13.2 million, while Thor was a distant fifth with $2.7 million.
Note: These #’s are based on Sunday’s projections and can change with Monday’s actual #’s.
#1 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (NR)
$73.7 million / $73.7 million total
After Desolation of Smaug’s $8.8 million midnight gross was reported Friday morning, it was a given The Hobbit sequel would fall short of the last movie. In comparison, An Unexpected Journey opened to $13 million last year. Desolation of Smaug still marks the second largest opening for The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchise. Smaug should hold stronger over the holidays than the previous film due to a 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes and ‘A-‘ grade on CinemaScore.
#2 – Frozen (1)
$22.2 million / $164.4 million total
Even with a fire-breathing dragon hoarding millions of dollars this weekend, Frozen remains the go-to family film. Disney’s latest animated film pulled in another $22.2 million in its third wide weekend. Frozen continues to outperform previous Disney holiday releases, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Toy Story 2. $200 million by Christmas Day or a day or two after is still feasible.
#3 – Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (NR)
$16.0 million / $16.0 million total
Tyler Perry’s Madea series has reached a new low. Unable to reach the $20 million mark, A Madea Christmas is the weakest opener for the franchise. Madea films have previously opened anywhere from $25-41 million. Estimates report A Madea Christmas opening at $16 million. Holiday legs should push the film over $50 million in the congested end-of-year market.
#4 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2)
$13.2 million / $357.0 million total
It’s only a matter of time before Catching Fire’s total falls behind The Hunger Games. After two strong weekends, Catching Fire lacks the legs of the first film as its lead continues to shrink. A $48 million lead weeks ago has been stripped down to $20 million. Catching Fire has faced strong competition the past few weeks with Frozen and Desolation of Smaug. Compare that to theatrical busts Wrath of the Titans, American Reunion and The Three Stooges in 2012.
#5 – Thor: The Dark World (4)
$2.7 million / $198.1 million total
$200 million continues to elude the God of Thunder for another week. Losing over 800 theaters this weekend, Thor: The Dark World dropped 43.9% in what’s to be its final stay on the Top 5 charts. Expect The Dark World to break the double century mark as early as this weekend.
Opening Next Week: Anchorman 2 (Wednesday), Her (Wednesday), Walking with Dinosaurs, American Hustle (expanding), Inside Llewyn Davis (expanding), Saving Mr. Banks (expanding)
Source: Box Office Mojo
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.