Box office preview: Can 'Wall Street' wolf down 'The Hobbit'?

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Image Credit: Mary Cybulski

With holiday lights twinkling and the eggnog flowing, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street were neck and neck at the Christmas Day box office. In the end, Smaug had more presents under the tree, firing up $9.3 million to Wolf‘s $9.15 million. But could Leonardo DiCaprio’s moral-free banker still come out on top this weekend?

Probably not. With a C CinemaScore, Wolf isn’t likely to get the word-of-mouth momentum it would need to overtake Smaug. Instead, the movie could end up taking in something like $23 million this weekend, bringing its 5-day total to around $37 million. Meanwhile, Smaug could make closer to $28 million (compared to the $31.9 million that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made in the same frame last year), bringing its total to $183 million.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was in third place on Christmas Day with $8.1 million, which means it should gross around $21 million. Fox’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty came in fourth with  $7.8 million, giving it a shot at $18 million, and American Hustle nabbed a cool $7.4 million, putting it on track for a $17 million weekend, factoring in the movie’s growing Oscar buzz. Further down the list, new releases 47 Ronin ($7.0 million on the 25th) and Grudge Match ($4.0 million) will need nothing short of a post-Christmas miracle to crack the top five.

Here’s a peek at how the top five might look this weekend.

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $28 million

2. The Wolf of Wall Street – $23 million

3. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – $21 million

4. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – $18 million

5. American Hustle - $18 million

On the specialty side, August: Osage County, Lone Survivor, and The Invisible Woman will open stealthily with single-digit theater counts this weekend, while Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will expand to 975 theaters, giving it a good shot at the top 10.

Check back on Saturday morning when we’ll have official numbers for Friday — and a better idea of how Smaug v. Wolf is going to pan out.


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