The Hobbit managed to hold both Django Unchained and Les Miserables out of the top spot last weekend, but will it be able to do the same when facing off against 2013′s first new release, Texas Chainsaw 3D, as well as expanding drama Promised Land? Well, probably.
Here’s how the box office may shake out this weekend:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – $19 million
Warner Bros.’ $250 million Middle Earth blockbuster got a massive boost in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and after three weekends atop the chart, its total stands at $242.5 million. A likely 40-percent drop this weekend would give The Hobbit another $19 million and push it ever closer to the $300 million mark.
2. Django Unchained – $18 million
Quentin Tarantino’s controversial western has broken the curse that usually plagues R-rated movies during the holidays. In its first nine days, Django whipped up a tremendous $82.4 million, and a 40-percent decline will bring its total past the $100 million mark with ease.
3. Texas Chainsaw 3D – $17 million
The week’s sole new wide release is a reboot/sequel in the long-running Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, which has been producing new entries at the box office since 1974. The film was financed by Millennium Entertainment for just under $20 million, and distributor Lionsgate has spent about $20 million on marketing. In the past decade, the Chainsaw franchise has found a new generation of fans primarily due to the 2003 Jessica Biel remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which garnered $80.6 million. It’s unlikely that Texas Chainsaw 3D will achieve such numbers, but Lionsgate expects an opening in the teens, and I’m going with $17 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period.
4. Les Miserables – $16 million
With $84.2 million in its first nine days, the film version of the beloved operetta has performed stunningly thus far, but it is falling faster than one might expect, due to up-front demand from Broadway obsessives. It may fall by about 40-45 percent to $16 million over the weekend, which would push it past $100 million.
5. Parental Guidance – $10 million
It may not have earned many headlines over its debut weekend, but Fox’s Billy Crystal/Bette Midler family film has performed solidly so far, earning $40.8 million against a $25 million budget. With no new family-oriented competition, Parental Guidance may add another $10 million to its cume.
Further down the chart, Matt Damon’s anti-fracking movie Promised Land seems unlikely to make a splash. The drama debuted inauspiciously with $174,000 from 25 theaters last weekend (enough for an unremarkable $6,957 per theater average), and it will expand into 1,675 theaters this weekend. A $4 million frame (or very likely less) may result.
Stay tuned to EW all weekend long for full box office coverage, and for more box office musings and up-to-the-minute updates, follow me on Twitter.