It turns out that moviegoers did want to visit Middle-Earth “one last time.”
‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies‘ was the only new movie release to make some real noise this weekend. The sixth and (supposedly) final installment of Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth saga easily took the top spot at the box office with $56.2 million over the three-day weekend. ‘Five Armies’ technically opened with nationwide showings at 7 PM on Tuesday. When you factor in the numbers it drew during that pre-weekend release, the film’s current domestic gross comes to $90.6 million, which puts this installment on track to be the highest-grossing of the three ‘Hobbit’ movies. However, it still won’t come close to making ‘Lord of the Rings’ money. The film is also playing very well overseas. After a head-start release in a few markets, it has already earned $265 million from foreign markets.
In distant second place was the third and (supposedly) final installment of Ben Stiller’s family fantasy series, ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb‘. The second entry in the ‘Musuem’ franchise dropped drastically from the earnings of the first, and the third chapter is following suit. It opened with only $17.3 million. To give that number some weight – or lack thereof – the first ‘Night at the Museum’ opened to $30.4 million on this same weekend eight years ago. Made with a budget of $127 million, this release is already a bust.
Third place went to the remake of ‘Annie‘, which had a pretty solid opening weekend despite horrible reviews. Coming in just behind ‘Secret of the Tomb’, the family musical pulled in $16.3 million and is on-track for a domestic total north of $80 million.
‘Exodus: Gods and Kings‘ took a massive blow in its second weekend. The $140 million Bible epic fell from first place to fourth with a nasty 66% drop-off. Much of its thunder was stolen away by fellow epic movie ‘The Hobbit’, and it was only able to earn $8 million. With a ten-day total of $38.9 million, ‘Exodus’ is already dead in the water.
Rounding out the Top 5 was the five-week-old ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1‘. Easing just 39% in attendance, the third picture in the franchise pulled in another $7.7 million. With a domestic gross of $289.2 million, ‘Mockingjay’ will likely close right next to the highest-grossing movie of 2014 (so far), ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. The film’s international draw seems to be slowing, but it has still earned $350.5 million overseas.
With an expansion that placed it on more than 1,000 screens, Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar bait drama ‘Wild‘ climbed up the charts from tenth place to sixth. With $4.1 million, it’s estimated that ‘Wild’ will do almost exactly one-half the business of fellow Fox Searchlight success story ‘Black Swan’, which is a very good thing for the studio.
Landing in the #10 spot was a title that no one saw coming. From 272 screens, a Bollywood picture titled ‘P.K.‘ finished with a solid $3.4 million.
Sony Classics’ biographical drama ‘Mr. Turner‘ also had an impressive limited opening. From just four screens in Los Angeles and New York, it earned $109,000 and a per-screen average of $21,800.
1. ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ (Warner Bros.) – $56,220,000
2. ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ (Fox) – $17,300,000
3. ‘Annie’ (Sony) – $16,300,000
4. ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ (Fox) – $8,065,000
5. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’ (Lionsgate) – $7,750,000
6. ‘Wild’ (Fox Searchlight) – $4,150,000
7. ‘Top Five’ (Paramount) – $3,570,000
8. ‘Big Hero 6’ (Buena Vista) – $3,563,000
9. ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ (Fox) – $3,525,000
10. ‘P.K.’ (UTV) – $3,461,000