Weekend Box Office Report: December 13-15 2013


BOX OFFICE REPORT December 13-15, 2013(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

TOP 51. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug ($73.6 million)2. Frozen ($22.1 million)3. Madea Christmas ($16.0 million)4. Catching Fire ($13.1 million)5. Thor: Dark World ($2.7 million)


The dragon slayed the competition this weekend as The Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug claimed the top spot. Still, it's noticeably less than its predecessor's debut, which was off from the Lord of the Rings trilogy that preceded it (when adjusted for inflation and 3-D surcharges). Despite being pretty impressive for December, there's no way this comes close to the $300 million the first one made, even though reviews are a bit better. Plus, there are nearly a dozen movies opening in the next three weeks. That's some serious competition.

The big surprise though, is how poorly Tyler Perry's latest Madea film opened. At $16 million, A Madea Christmas is the third-lowest debut of his career, just ahead of his poorly received Good Deeds and Daddy's Little Girls. Could this be the first crack in Perry's mighty empire? No, of course not. This will still make a killing on home video and will make a return on its modest budget in no time.

The rest was business as usual. Frozen, Catching Fire and The Dark World are all marking the end of their successful runs. It'll all be over by Christmas Day.

Outside the top 5: - This Weekend's Indie Champ: American Hustle, David O. Russell's latest Oscar contender, scammed its way to an incredible $115,000 per-screen average at a mere six theaters. That's the best opening average of the year if you exclude Frozen's fancy-pants premiere (where tickets could be upwards of $50 a piece).

- Saving Mr. Banks started off impressively in limited release, bringing in $421,000 on only 15 screens. The Disney film tells the story of Walt Disney's attempts to bring P.L. Travers's Mary Poppins to the big screen. It's getting raves for the performances from Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

- Inside Llewyn Davis dipped a bit, but expect it to pick up steam as it expands next week and its soundtrack continues to perform well.

Next week:There's absolutely no telling how everything will shake out next week. Anchorman 2 seems the likely victor and could earn at least $60 million, if not more. It all depends on how cautious fans of the first film are. There's also Walking with Dinosaurs, a CGI-ed adaptation of the popular stage tour. Plus, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks go wide. And this all just a few days before five more nationwide releases hit theaters. Phew.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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