The Hobbit Desolates Madea - Week 7 | The Hunger Games: Catching Fire | Frozen | The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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The Hobbit Desolates Madea - Week 7

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Frozen
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Thor: The Dark World
American Hustle
Saving Mr. Banks
The Best Man Holiday
Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas
When Tolkienites get together to sing Elvish songs or blow smoke rings with their pipe-weed, it's usually to honor the celebrated literary trilogy The Lord of The Rings. The Hobbit is generally thought of a footnote or the spinach artichoke dip before the main feast. Given the fact that more Tolkienites would rather see a new LoTR movie about Tom Bombadil (a bizarre character from The Fellowship of the Ring that was left out of the movie version who's like the big, goofy Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol) than three movies about Bilbo Baggins, Warner Bros. should be thrilled with how well The Hobbit films are doing. It's not Lord of the Rings numbers, but it's no AfterMASH either.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug burned $73.6 million in its opening three days. Though down about $11 million from The Hobbit: An Expected Journey's debut, that film didn't have to compete with a secret Beyonce album being released and news of the Khloe Kardashian/Lamar Odom divorce. Who's going to head for Middle Earth when the real one's so compelling!

It can be said, however, that the stunt casting of Orlando Bloom's Legolas character from The Lord of The Rings movies, who isn't even in The Hobbit book, didn't exactly get those Tokienites quaking in their hairy feet. Ooh, let's get the pretty boy all the living-in-mom's-basement guys made fun of in the first trilogy. That'll sell tickets! And much like what happened to Liv Tyler and Leonard Nimoy, we can now add Evangiline Lilly. Once you give certain people pointy ears, you stop thinking they're a special effect and assume they're always there. They must just CGI them out in every other movie like Lt. Dan's legs in Forest Gump.

While Middle Earth may have been middling, Madea's was getting run over by a reindeer. A Madea's Christmas had the worst start ever for a Madea movie with $16 million. How can Madea's Witness Protection with Tom Arnold... I repeat, Tom Arnold!... pull off $9 million more than a holiday-themed Madea movie with Larry The Cable Guy? Wait, I just re-read that last sentence and you're right. I'm going to call that a wash. Still, it's weird to think more people cared about Madea being a Mad Black Woman, her Family Reunion, Going To Jail, and her Big Happy Family than about how she saved Christmas. All of the other Madea's finished with more than $50 million. Is this the first crack in the dam or merely a slow start for a film that can keep cashing-in on that holiday cheer and cross-dressing through New Years?

Frozen's precentage drop seemed to freeze again as it fell only 30% in its third weekend. Storing another $22.2 million in its ice chest, the Nordic musical has swelled its chorus to the tune of $164.4 million and there's no end to the repeat signs in the score. Seriously, where's the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie to throw some salt on the snow? At this point The Wolf of Wall Street is the closest thing we have to another family film coming out. It shouldn't be too hard to spin Leonardo DiCaprio as the Big Bad Wolf and Jonah Hill as Little Red Riding Hood. "Over the strippers and through the lost pension plans, to grandmother's house we go!"

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is still smoldering after burning out 48% from last week. This might be its last weekend of making eight digits ($13.7 million), yet there may be several weekends of seven-digit success ahead as the $357.5 million total can still absorb some repeat business through the holidaze. Besides, as brutal and violent as life can be in Panem, I'd still take a two-hour visit there over WalMart.

In the "It's interesting to note" section, two films about to get a wide release tested the waters in limited showings this weekend. On only six screens, American Hustle ($690,000) out-grossed Saving Mr. Banks ($421,000) which was on 15 screens. Is this a sign that the indie-smart upstart will outperform the ballyhooed big-studio production or just that hipsters were more excited about bragging how they've "already" seen American Hustle. I'm going to put on my She & Him Christmas Album, sip on my half-soy half-calf decaf hazelnut macchiato, and think about this some more.

The Top Five If Today Was Martin Luther King Jr. Observance:
#1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - $357.5 million
#2. Thor: The Dark World - $198.2 million
#3. Frozen - $164.8 million
#5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - $73.6 million
#5. The Best Man Holiday - $69 million

by Matt Neuenburg on 12/17/2013

Movies Mentioned in this Post: American Hustle, Frozen, Saving Mr. Banks, The Best Man Holiday, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Thor: The Dark World, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas
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