The Hobbit Has One Ring To Rule The Holidays - Week 8, 9, 10, etc. | Skyfall | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey | The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

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The Hobbit Has One Ring To Rule The Holidays - Week 8, 9, 10, etc.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Wreck-It Ralph
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Zero Dark Thirty
Jack Reacher
Parental Guidance
This Is 40
The Guilt Trip
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
What can I say? When pressed between playing with my kids Christmas gifts or writing recaps during the holidays, I hope you can all understand which is going to win. So, let's roll through the last eight films released, catch-up with some old favorites, and see where we stand with just two weeks to go. Some of you might want to get something to numb the pain first.

Django Unchained and Les Miserables proved to be the only "true" successes of the late holiday rush. Both began with large Christmas Day openings, $15 million for Django and $18.2 for Les Mis, which ranked as the 3rd and 2nd highest Christmas Day debuts ever. If you're curious, the record holder is the first Sherlock Holmes with $24.6 million in 2009. What is it about the 19th Century that sparks huge Christmas movie-going mania?! Is it some trickle-down effect from the 1800's setting in A Christmas Carol that's affected our film-watching DNA during this time of year?

At the end of the day, as they'd sing in Les Mis, Django has slowly grown past the Miserables and now sits with $106.4 million with the French rebels holding onto $103.6 million. I say slowly because both films are incredibly long! 2 hours and 37 minutes for Les Mis and Django Unchained is surprisingly eight minutes longer even without Jamie Foxx singing. Django's only a minute shorter than The Hobbit and we all know how long The Lord of the Ring movies feel. Lincoln, Skyfall, Life of Pi, and even Jack Reacher all pushed past the 2 hour mark as well. Add in 20 minutes of trailers and does no one realize AMC sells 54 ounce sodas these days?! Who's bladder can handle this? We don't need these new lounge chair theaters, we need seats with bed pans!

Seriously, for the sake of my engorged kidneys, can we bring back intermissions to movie theaters? They used to do it with long movie musicals in the 50s and 60s. I remember one when my parents dragged me to Gandhi in 1982 (Rocky III or E.T.? Nah, let's go see Gandhi!). They even still do it in Europe. When I saw X-Men: The (not-so) Last Stand in Iceland (it was that or the already forgotten Bruce Willis movie 16 Blocks, you pick your poison), they paused the movie right after Professor X dies (Spoiler Alert, it's been seven years, sue me). Lights came on and everyone headed out for a smoke or to get more snacks. For a second I was, "Wait, did that really just end there or did the projector break? Don't they show the credits in other countries?" Eventually, I caught on, made the run I thought I was going to have to hold for the next 45 minutes, and everything went on swimmingly (maybe not the best choice of words). The point is, a break wouldn't be so bad and if theaters are going to sell these large portions, it's becoming a public safety issue for the intestines in all of us.

Side rant aside, we found what the AARP crowd really wants is not to just see older stars. They want to see them as grandparents, not parents. Thus, Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler has almost doubled Barbra Streisand's The Guilt Trip with a $52.8 million to $31.2 million total so far. Yes, older people had kids. Kids that drove them nuts almost every day of their lives. Older people don't want to see their kids... they want to see the grandkids! The ones who treat them really nice because they're hoping their grandparents will spoil them. This makes total sense and yet I completely missed it. I would've pegged Parental Guidance as Most Likely To Tank out of this last crop of movies. Instead, it's the most surprising (minor) success.

While the previous films were on the Senior Menu, the Middle-Aged crowd was offered Jack Reacher and the eponymous This is 40. Both proved to be as lukewarm as the 40's are: not as bad as you thought, yet nothing you'd camp out all night for. Jack reached for $64.8 million so far and This is 40 has $54.5 million. Combined, they'd be bigger than either Django Unchained and Les Miserables. In the absences of letting poolers combine selections as a single, we're going to chalk these up Yawn 1 and Yawn 2. You do a lot of yawning in your 40's.

Two films ended-up in the "limited release" category, which is great if you're playing hard-to-get to earn end-of-the-year awards, but lousy if you're counting on these movies to make your Top 5. Zero Dark Thirty is drawing huge theater averages at the few theaters it's playing at, however a $4.5 million gross doesn't even get you a seat at the Holiday Movie Pool. You'll be lucky if they even let you look over someone's shoulder to see the menu. Meanwhile, Cirque Du Soleil may be able to sell out theaters around the world, but they can't do it at the cinema. Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away was stuck during interplanetary travel and earned a meager $10.9 million. Hopefully, they can sell CDs and programs afterwards to help offshoot the cost.

While the new films tried to gather the crowds where they could, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey kept travelling along. Earning $263.8 million so far, Warner Bros. is very happy to likely have another billion dollar trilogy in its video library. Given the middling critical response, it will be interesting to see if the following films grow in interest as they did for The Lord of the Rings. That said, it's clear the core audience has come out and they'll likely return for second and third breakfast.

It's official. James Bond has made Twilight's Skyfall. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part Two has broken shy of $300 million and Skyfall is about to soar past that mark and moved into the #1 slot for top film of the season. Will 007 remain as the All Time High (that was the Bond song from Octopussy... Why didn't they try to work the title of the movie into that one?) or can The Hobbit drink some ent water and catch him?

The battle for #5 also seems to be in play. Lincoln has performed presidentially as it continues to draw favorable approval ratings nine weeks after its initial release. With $143.9 million, this elected official will be hard to impeach. Django Unchained might be the only film strong enough to call for a recall vote. Can the bounty hunters hunt one more film down or will this one get away?

The Top Five If Today Was Martin Luther King Jr. Observance:
#1. Skyfall - $296.9 million
#2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part Two - $289.2 million
#3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - $263.8 million
#4. Wreck-It Ralph - $178.5 million
#5. Lincoln - $143.9 million

by Matt Neuenburg on 01/07/2013

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, Django Unchained, Jack Reacher, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Parental Guidance, Skyfall, The Guilt Trip, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, This Is 40, Wreck-It Ralph, Zero Dark Thirty
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