Weekend Box Office: Breaking Big

Peter Jackson and his Hobbits went head-on against four big new movies over the post-Christmas weekend and still walked away victorious. Two of the four newbies performed very well, but the other two sorely disappointed.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies‘ continued its winning streak with a $41.4 million second weekend. The mild 24% drop-off pushed its 12-day domestic total up to $168.5 million. The strong run continues overseas, as the film has now pulled in $405.1 million internationally and $573.6 million worldwide, placing it on track to be the most successful of the three ‘Hobbit’ films.

Coming in almost $10 million behind ‘The Hobbit’ was the Angelina Jolie-directed World War II drama ‘Unbroken‘. With a mostly no-name cast, Jolie used her own face to promote the picture, which really paid off for it. The bio-pic earned $31.7 million over the three-day weekend. Including Christmas Day numbers, ‘Unbroken’ has already earned $47.3 million and is estimated to cross the $100 million mark in no time.

Playing on 700 fewer screens than ‘Unbroken’ yet coming in just behind it was Disney’s big screen adaptation of the Broadway hit ‘Into the Woods‘. The PG-rated musical grossed $31 million over the three-day weekend and $46.1 million including Christmas Day numbers. With box office numbers in line with 2012’s ‘Les Miserables‘, given it holds up, ‘Into the Woods’ may close at around $140 million.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb‘ fell to fourth place in its second weekend, but actually jumped up 20% in attendance over its debut. The family flick added $20.6 million to its run and doesn’t appear to be quite the flop that last week’s numbers made it out to be. After ten days, the $127 million picture has now earned $55.3 million. If it can hold up, ‘Secret of the Tomb’ just might cross the $100 million mark domestically.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Sony’s ‘Annie‘ remake, which also performed better in its second weekend than the previous week. The musical climbed 5% in attendance with another $16.6 million, bringing its ten-day total up to $45.8 million. Predictions place it closing north of $80 million.

Mark Wahlberg’s new thriller ‘The Gambler‘ crapped out in seventh place. Playing on nearly 2,500 screens, its three-day weekend only yielded $9.3 million. Including Christmas Day, the picture has made $14.3 million, but is on track to fizzle out below $50 million.

The Imitation Game‘ climbed to 747 screens and greatly benefited from the expansion. The film’s $7.9 million weekend landed it in the #8 spot, doubling its collective domestic run to date.

Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes‘ are weeping after such a lousy premiere. From 1,307 locations, the drama only grossed $2.9 million, enough to land in the #15 spot. Ouch. The pathetic $2,285 per-screen average will likely stunt any plans that the Weinsteins had for expanding its run. The only thing that can help the movie at this point will be Oscar nominations, but lead actress Amy Adams is the only potential nomination-worthy aspect.

Without the help of the top five theater chains, Sony’s ‘The Interview‘ collected $1.8 million from the 331 screens willing to play it. The controversial comedy was also available to rent or purchase online for just $6.99 and $14.99, respectively – but those numbers have not been announced.

Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper‘ had a huge limited opening. From just four screens, the modern warfare film scored $610,000 and the second best per-screen average ($152,500) of all time for a live-action film. The picture opens nationwide mid-January.

Selma‘, which tells the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, opened to an impressive $590,000 from 19 locations. Its $31,053 per-screen average and awards buzz ought to push the film onto a lot more screens in the very near future.

Finally, the Dardenne brothers’ latest drama ‘Two Days, One Night‘ made $30,600 from two locations. The $15,300 per-screen average isn’t the greatest, but the acclaimed filmmakers are not exactly known for being big box office draws.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ (Warner Bros.) – $41,420,000

2. ‘Unbroken’ (Universal) – $31,748,000

3. ‘Into the Woods’ (Buena Vista) – $31,021,000

4. ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ (Fox) – $20,600,000

5. ‘Annie’ (Sony) – $16,600,000

6. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1’ (Lionsgate) – $10,000,000

7. ‘The Gambler’ (Paramount) – $9,300,000

8. ‘The Imitation Game’ (Weinstein) – $7,930,000

9. ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ (Fox) – $6,750,000

10. ‘Wild’ (Fox Searchlight) – $5,415,000


  1. For the record, THE INTERVIEW made around $15 million in VOD rentals and sales (combined) over the weekend. Pretty impressive considering they estimated about 750,000 bootleg (i.e., non-paid and illegal) downloads on the first day alone.

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