Friday, December 19, 2014

Final 'The Hobbit' Movie Has Tall Order to Fill For Box Office Success

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, more big-name movies are schlepping their way to the theatres, hopefully leading us out of the box office doldrums that typify early December. Sure to take the number one spot is The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies--because it's big, because it's the last movie in Peter Jackson's Middle Earth series and because it came out on Wednesday, so it will have had five days to rake in the dough instead of three. Tricksy Hobbitses! So far Bilbo and his pals have earned $24.4 million domestically and $122.2 million internationally (it opened in several foreign markets last week). By the end of its five-day weekend, it could earn up to $100 million on US soil, though merely decent reviews (60% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and the general consensus that the Hobbit trilogy is nowhere near as good as The Lord of the Rings could lead the final Hobbit movie to fizzle.

Also out in wide release is Sony Pictures' Annie, which by most accounts isn't very good--only 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, yowch--but I kind of want it to do well, if only because Sony's had a bad enough month already. They could use a break. It'll be up against fellow kids' movie Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which is getting better--but still not good--reviews. But hey, those reviews are on-par with what Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian got, and they still made $30.4 million and $54.1 million, respectively, on opening weekend. Still, the second movie made substantially less overall than the first one, which indicates a potential decreasing interest in the series. Plus, it's been five years since the second movie. Does anyone still care?

Wild is expanding from 116 theatres to 850, which should pull in a few extra million and increase its stature for awards season. Among the movies coming out limited release in New York and/or Los Angeles are Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, Angus MacLachlan's Goodbye to All That and Song of the Sea, the sophomore feature of Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells co-director Tomm Moore.

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