Anchorman Is Only Kind of A Big Deal; American Hustles; Banks Needs Saving - Week 8 | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | Frozen | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Anchorman Is Only Kind of A Big Deal; American Hustles; Banks Needs Saving - Week 8

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World
American Hustle
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Saving Mr. Banks
The Best Man Holiday
Walking With Dinosaurs
In the movie Babe when Ferdinand the Duck screams out "Christmas means carnage... Christmas means carnage!" it's pretty clear he's talking about the onslaught of films released within the small window around Christmas Day. We had four wide releases this weekend and five more set for Wednesday. While a lot of folks flock to the theater, they're not seeing all nine films. It's a theatrical blood bath where few win and the others will be left as a bloody pulp in the bargain DVD bin. Christmas means carnage.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues had about the same ratings as his last broadcast. Reporting $26.8 million over the weekend and a 5-day weeknight coverage of $40 million, fans were eager to welcome Ron Burgandy back into their homes though not everyone was willing to tune him in. While the stereotype for sequels is they usually deliver less, some films find even more momentum on DVD and cable showings. This helped make X-Men 2, Shrek 2, and especially Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me even bigger successes than their predecessors. Anchorman 2 will certainly live-up to the legend of Anchorman, but the cable audience still doesn't measure up to a network broadcast.

Ironically, as Ron Burgandy moved into the 80's, folks seemed to really want to stay in the 70's. American Hustle boogied its way to $19.1 million and showed that not every successful Holiday release needs millions of dollars of CGI effects. Casting a couple of Hollywood cuties like Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in a bra-less decade works too. Director David O. Russell looks to have an even bigger hit on his hands than Silver Linings Playbook. Can it dance it's way past Anchorman 2?

And, now, in the section we can label "Carnage"...

I never realized Mr. Banks needed this much saving. Saving Mr. Banks was foreclosed with a $9.3 million debut. While that's better than the lackluster start of the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts vehicle Charlie Wilson's War in 2007, the "We're not as lame as those lame guys" argument doesn't get you very far. It's like saying Ishtar didn't suck as much as Howard the Duck. Um, hooray?!

Maybe it was just more Saving Julie Andrews backlash. After bashing Carrie Underwood's Maria in Sound of Music Live, people thought Emma Thompson was actually playing Julie Andrews in the movie and continued protesting that they don't want anyone else being Julie besides Julie. It is true that it's hard to replace someone who's practically perfect in every way.

Meanwhile, Walking With Dinosaurs is already extinct after a prehistoric $7.1 million jaunt. Gee, why wouldn't families find realistic looking cold-blooded dinosaurs warm and friendly? I mean, they like the cartoony, goofy ones in the Ice Age movies. They like the more historic replicas when they're about to chomp on Jeff Goldblum. It should work when you mix the two together... or maybe poop jokes just aren't the same when they're done by five-ton animals.

As for the holdovers, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug drooped 57% which was about the same as last year's Hobbit. This second go-round is running a little behind An Unexpected Journey, but that's like saying Garbage 2.0 was a little behind Garbage's debut album. They both did fine, they both were happy when it rained, and the same looks like it's be true for The Desolation of Smaug.

That said, it's hard for fans not to notice that the word "loosely" should be added to the "Based on the Book by J.R.R. Tolkien" credit. While Peter Jackson had to take things out to make the Lord of the Rings fit into three movies, he keeps having to add things in to expand The Hobbit into three flicks. We could've been done with this show already, but no.... someone had to shout out, "Drum solo!"

Otherwise, Frozen continued to freeze off extinction as it sled downhill only 13% and is now only $8 million behind Thor's $200 million total. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire kept its embers burning after flaming-out 36% and still has a chance at topping $400 million. That's the difference between a hit and a mega-hit... just like that's the difference between a prefix from the 80's (mega) and a prefix from Germany (├╝ber).

The Top Five If Today Was Martin Luther King Jr. Observance:
#1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - $371.8 million
#2. Thor: The Dark World - $200.8 million
#3. Frozen - $192 million
#5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - $127.6 million
#5. The Best Man Holiday - $69.8 million

by Matt Neuenburg on 12/24/2013

Movies Mentioned in this Post: American Hustle, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks, The Best Man Holiday, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Thor: The Dark World, Walking With Dinosaurs
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