Christmas Weekend Box Office: ‘Unexpected’ Disappointments

The first installment of the ‘Hobbit’ series held onto the top box office spot over the Christmas holiday. However, by falling 56.3% in attendance, the film has failed to maintain the ‘Lord of the Rings’ legacy. Even though the movie has grossed $150 million during its domestic 10-day run, its quick decline suggests that ‘An Unexpected Journey’ will be the least of all the Tolkien-based films so far. Nonetheless, its $36.9 million second weekend was more than twice enough to secure first place over the five holiday wide releases.

The Tom Cruise vehicle ‘Jack Reacher‘ performed best out of the new competition, but certainly didn’t do all that well. With a $15.6 million opening, the movie isn’t even forecasted to meet the $83 million total that ‘Valkyrie‘ finished with. Luckily, the whole thing was made on a smaller-than-expected $60 million budget.

Third place went to Judd Apatow’s ‘Knocked Up‘ spin-off ‘This Is 40‘, which opened to less than half the gross of the original. While ‘Knocked Up’ debuted with a strong $30.7 million, ‘This Is 40′ only warranted a $12 million premiere. Despite casting his entire family, Apatow managed to blow $35 million on this dud, and there’s surely nothing to show for it.

DreamWorks’ five-week-old ‘Rise of the Guardians‘ is still staying strong enough to stick around in the Top 5. Its $5.9 million weekend and slight 17.4% decline show that the film has either: 1) benefited from the lack of family flicks over the holiday, or 2) is better than initial reactions. Seven-week-old ‘Lincoln‘ also added another $5.5 million to its cumulative total, bringing it up to $116.6 million domestically.

Big surprise, ‘Parental Guidance‘ and its relevant cast (note the sarcasm) opened to an awful $5.4 million. ‘Monsters, Inc. 3D‘ also disappointed, earning less during its five-day debut than ‘The Lion King 3D‘ pulled in on the first day of its release last year. ‘Monsters’ made $5 million during the actual weekend and $6.5 million since its Wednesday release.

The final wide release, ‘Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away‘, opened in the #11 spot with $2.1 million. Initially, this may look like a bad opening, but when you realize that the movie only had two showings daily at each of its 840 locations, it actually didn’t do too badly.

Kathryn Bigelow’s much-hyped and highly-anticipated exploration of the Osama bin Laden manhunt performed very well during its five-screen limited debut. This $410,000 opening for ‘Zero Dark Thirty‘ gives the January 3rd expansion a nice head start.

The limited release of Summit Entertainment’s manipulative tsunami drama ‘The Impossible‘ warranted a per-screen average more than that of any film in the Top 10. On 15 screens, the movie earned $143,818, or $9,588 per screen. Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classics’ French acquisition ‘Amour‘ also did very well this weekend. On just three screens, it pulled in $68,266, for $22,755 per screen.

Top 10:

1. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Warner Bros.) – $36,940,000

2. ‘Jack Reacher’ (Paramount) – $15,600,000

3. ‘This Is 40’ (Universal) – $12,031,000

4. ‘Rise of the Guardians’ (DreamWorks) – $5,900,000

5. ‘Lincoln’ (Buena Vista) – $5,525,774

6. ‘The Guilt Trip’ (Paramount) – $5,390,000

7. ‘Monsters, Inc. 3D’ (Buena Vista) – $4,774,686

8. ‘Skyfall’ (Sony) – $4,700,000

9. ‘Life of Pi’ (Fox) – $4,017,237

10. ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ (Summit) – $2,626,955


  1. I plan to go see Les Miserables tomorrow, and possibly Lincoln on Friday. I am having Lasik next week, and after that, I will probably want to go see The Hobbit in HFR again – it will be nice to see it without being burdened by eyeglasses.

    I am debating on seeing Cirque de Soleil. It sounds interesting, but not sure if I want to pay the 3D upcharge for it. I mean, I want to see it in 3D, but as its a movie that I am only vaguely interested in, I just don’t want to pay that much. Maybe I will wait for it to hit Vudu and catch it on a rental.

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