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Weekend Box Office: 2012 Ends with Record High

2012 went down as one for the books. At this time, it’s estimated that the year-end domestic box office has closed around the $10.8 billion mark. That’s billion with a “B.” The Top 5 contributors to this benchmark were ‘The Avengers‘ ($623.4 million), ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ ($448.1 million), ‘The Hunger Games‘ ($408 million), ‘Skyfall’ ($285 million and counting) and ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2′ ($283.7 million and counting). It’s worth noting that seven of the Top 10 of 2012 were installments from already-established franchises. 2013, you’ve got some huge shoes to fill.

The closing weekend of 2012 was a tight race for first place. All new movies lost to three-week-old ‘The Hobbit‘ – but not without putting up a fight. The third weekend drop-off for ‘The Hobbit’ was more along the lines of what the studio hoped to see the film do in its disastrous second weekend; it dropped only 13.5% and brought in another $31.9 million. Over its 17-day life, ‘An Unexpected Journey’ has brought in $221.7 million domestically. That’s more than ‘Fellowship of the Ring‘, but not as good as ‘The Two Towers‘ or ‘Return of the King‘.

Much to my surprise, ‘Django Unchained‘ defied the odds and finished in second place. $30.1 million is fantastic opening for an R-rated genre flick, especially one that has received plenty of negative press about its usage of historically accurate but politically incorrect racial slurs. ‘Django’, which opened on Christmas Day, is now at $63.4 million, which places it on track to become Tarantino’s highest grossing film over ‘Inglourious Basterds‘. Its $10,008 per-screen average is the highest of all the films in the Top 10.

Although ‘Les Miserables‘, which also opened on Christmas Day, debuted stronger than ‘Django’, it slipped over the weekend. Its $27.2 million weekend bumped the musical’s total six-day run up to $66.7 million.

Despite being the only PG-rated movie to open on Christmas Day, Billy Crystal’s atrocious-looking ‘Parental Guidance‘ was the lowest of the new openers. It turns out that audiences would rather see 2.5 hours of Middle Earth, Blaxploitation or non-stop musical drama than Billy Crystal in a so-called comedy. ‘Parental Guidance’ only pulled in $14.5 million and has a six-day total of $29.3 million.

Jack Reacher‘ rounded out the Top 5 by only dropping 10% in its second weekend. The movie isn’t drinking anyone’s blood from a boot yet, but it held on pretty well, presumably due to positive word-of-mouth. The $14 million second weekend brought its 10-day total up to $44.6 million.

Neither of the two big indie releases performed very well. Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land‘ played on 25 screens and only earned $173,915. This isn’t a very good sign for how the film will perform when it expands nationwide this coming weekend. Perhaps the audience that would typically see a movie like this instead sought out the five-screen run of Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, which pulled in $315,000 in its second weekend and finished with a 10-day total of $1.3 million. To show the difference between the two, with a 23.2% decline in attendance, the per-screen average for ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ was $63,000 while ‘Promised Land’ was only $6,957.

The other indie release to disappoint was the Peter Jackson-produced documentary about the West Memphis Three, ‘West of Memphis‘. On five screens, the historical doc only pulled in $13,360, warranting a measly $2,672 per-screen average.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Warner Bros.) – $31,960,000

2. ‘Django Unchained’ (Weinstein) – $30,122,888

3. ‘Les Miserables’ (Universal) – $27,281,735

4. ‘Parental Guidance’ (Fox) – $14,554,053

5. ‘Jack Reacher’ (Paramount) – $14,010,000

6. ‘This is 40′ (Universal) – $12,501,060

7. ‘Lincoln’ (Buena Vista) – $7,337,362

8. ‘The Guilt Trip’ (Paramount) – $6,700,000

9. ‘Monsters, Inc. (3D)’ (Buena Vista) – $6,447,437

10. ‘Rise of the Guardians’ (DreamWorks) – $4,900,000

1 comment

  1. William Henley

    I saw Les Miserables Thursday at the 10AM showing, and the theater was about 3/4ths full, which is pretty good for an early morning showing – The Hobbit on opening day was only about 30% full for the morning show when I went. Of course, the higher attendance could be because of people being on vacation for the holidays. Les Miserables was also on one screen, wheras The Hobbit was on three.

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