Monday, December 17, 2012

'Hobbit' sets December record with $85 million weekend

Audiences are just beginning their trip with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The Peter Jackson-directed epic fantasy adventure opened to $84.7 million. When movies like November's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn--Part 2 rack up $141 million in a single weekend, it can make The Hobbit's figure look low in comparison. With this movie, the debut weekend is just the start of the story--and the beginning of a trilogy. The Hobbit may have an opening as a family movie.
Hobbit richard armitage 3Besides the re-release of Monsters Inc. in 3D and the fading Rise of the Guardians, there are no animated family movies this holiday season. The Hobbit, which eschews the dark tone of Lord of the Rings, could be a huge hit with those from late elementary school onward, despite its PG-13 rating. Viewers under 18 gave the movie an "A+" CinemaScore rating. However, on opening weekend 58% of audiences were over 25 and 57% were male, indicating that fanboys were a big presence. It's up to the marketing team at Warner Bros. and word-of-mouth to move this release beyond its core fanbase and position it as a family movie.

With no other competition besides The Hobbit, returning films posted below-average drops, mostly in the 20-40% range. Specialty, arthouse-leaning fare performed best. Lincoln, in third place, dipped just 18.8% for a total of $7.2 million. Silving Linings Playbook, which ascended to tenth place, wavered just 4% from last week for a $2 million weekend. Other specialty fare posted gains, including Hitchcock, up 52% to $1 million. Hyde Park on Hudson skyrocketed 265% to $297,000, including a per-screen average of $8,200. Rust and Bone posted a small 8% gain as it went from four to six theatres, averaging $9,300 per screen.

 This week is a busy one. On Wednesday, Zero Dark Thirty will roll out into select theatres along with critics' favorite Amour. Monsters Inc. will re-release in 3D and Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen will go on The Guilt Trip. Then, on Friday, Tom Cruise plays an action hero in Jack Reacher. Judd Apatow's This is 40, sort-of sequel to Knocked Up, will provide some comedic relief. Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away will bring the legendary circus troupe's acts to the big screen.

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