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A Big Opening Was The Expected Journey For The Hobbit - Week 7

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Wreck-It Ralph
Life of Pi
Rise of the Guardians
It's always interesting to me when hugely successful movies and TV shows are completely avoided by certain sections of the population. Isn't the entire point of pop culture that something created a huge interest or recognition over a large populous? American Idol was the highest rated TV show for years and I know relevant demographic people who swear to have never seen an episode. Harry Potter and Twilight are two of the most successful film franchises ever and it's not hard to find folks who've never seen either of them. This plays a huge factor when determining this weekend's success of The Hobbit: Was it the start of something big or the continuation of something old?

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey certainly performed the expected by topping the box-office this weekend as there simply weren't any other films released. For its trophy case, The Hobbit can claim the biggest December weekend ever with an $84.8 million debut, besting I Am Legend's $77.2 million start in 2007. It's also a larger opening than any of the Lord of the Ring movies.

This certainly sounds impressive... unless you compare it to other months and in that case it's a smaller beginning than even two other films in this very pool: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and Skyfall. If you want to even expand the opening weekend frame further, The Hobbit is just behind films like Wolverine and Fast Five. Not exactly the movies Peter Jackson was expecting his film to be mentioned with, unless you try to argue The Hobbit is just like The Fast and The Furious series minus the hot babes and fast cars. In any other series, Vin Diesel would definitely be considered a dwarf.

This leads us to naysayers already complaining The Hobbit has missed the mark. Even though it bested Return of the King's $72.6 million beginning, that finale came out in 2003. Given the higher ticket prices, 3D showings, and IMAX screenings, it's obvious less tickets were sold for The Hobbit. Does this point to The Hobbit being a lesser success than its predecessor (which is actually its follower, if you're talking about the book order)? Has interest in Middle Earth dwindled after all the cool kids have decided Top Earth is the place to be these days?

While all the pundits are working hard to have their say, I'll just leave it with this. The Hobbit made almost $8 million more than Avatar did in its first weekend. I repeat, Avatar. No one had any idea how well that film was going to do until it made almost the exact same amount of money in its second weekend as it had in its first weekend. I'm certainly not believing The Hobbit will repeat this feat. Merely, films don't have to open with $120 million in December to still go on and kick major box-office butt. Films last longer during the holiday months and when the weather outside is frightful, sometimes spending three hours in another world can be delightful.

While the Shire was living high of the hog, the rest of the box-office was sleeping like a log. The #2 film of the weekend could do no better that $7.4 million and that money went to Rise of the Guardians. While the movie continues to enjoy a small decent of 29%, its less than anticipated beginning makes its total of $71.2 million seem unimpressive. With Monster's Inc 3D coming out next weekend (which seems easy to dismiss, yet Disney's racked-up some serious bucks on these re-packaged releases), we could be looking at the first DreamWorks picture to not make at least $100 million since... since... Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas in 2003, the lowest grossing DreamWorks animated feature ever. I think even the real Sinbad's movie Houseguest did better than that one.

Lincoln and Skyfall both managed around $7 million weekends. While this number helped push the former president into the $100 million club, it also aided 007's mission to eventually surpass Breaking Dawn - Part 2's total. Now only $4.4 million behind, no matter what Christina Perri sings, I don't think this lead is going to last for a thousand years.

Life of Pi and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2 both landed in the in $5 million range this weekend. For Ang Lee, the film has made back its budget when including the international haul. For domestic audiences, however, it never seems to have crossed over from being more of a side-stage freak-show than a main tent attraction.

The Top Five If Today Was Martin Luther King Jr. Observance:
#1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part Two - $276.9 million
#2. Skyfall - $272.4 million
#3. Wreck-It Ralph - $168.8 million
#4. Lincoln - $107.9 million
#5. Flight - $89.4 million

by Matt Neuenburg on 12/17/2012

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Flight, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Rise of the Guardians, Skyfall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, Wreck-It Ralph
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