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Box Office Report: 'The Hobbit' holds number one spot, 'Jack Reacher' and 'This is 40' disappoint

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It was a fairly slow weekend at the box office.

Despite a record-breaking opening, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey experienced a significant 57% drop off in its second week, bringing in an estimated $36.7 million, with an $8,952 per screen average. This brings The Hobbit’s ten-day gross to $149.9 million, tracking about 8% behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’s ten-day gross.

Paramount’s Jack Reacher (Cinema Score: A-) opened this past weekend in second place with a modest $15.6 million. Based on the popular Lee Child-created character, the Tom Cruise action flick has been somewhat of a box office wild card and will have to struggle to maintain momentum to make up the costs for the $60 million production. The weekend prior to the Christmas holiday isn’t usually the strongest at the box office, but last year Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol opened wide on December 21 at $29.6 million. As many have already mentioned, Jack Reacher fans are perhaps put off by the casting, since the character is supposed to be physically imposing at 6’5″.

Judd Apatow’s comedy This is 40 (Cinema Score: B-) also opened this weekend at $12 million to take third place. Though not abysmal, it doesn’t hold a candle to the $22.7 million, number one opening for Funny People, Apatow’s last directorial effort. But of course, Funny People starred Adam Sandler, which likely contributed to the strong opening. A sort of-sequel to Knocked Up (which opened at $30.7 million), This is 40 stars Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, and Albert Brooks, and boasts an impressively large cast including John Lithgow, Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, Michael Ian Black, and Lena Dunham. But the 134-minute run time and Paul Rudd’s relatively low box office draw may have contributed to the low first weekend earnings.

Things did not fare as well for other weekend openings, including the Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen road trip comedy The Guilt Trip (Cinema Score: B-) and Monsters, Inc. 3D, both of which failed to break the top five, bringing in $5.4 million and $5 million, respectively.

READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Hobbit' plummets to $10.2M on Friday, but easily leads 'Jack Reacher' and 'This is 40'

Sure, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey set a December record last weekend when it opened with $84.5 million, but after eight days in theaters, it’s now clear that the Lord of the Rings prequel is running well behind the final LOTR film, The Return of the King, which earned $377.8 in 2003 — without 3D and IMAX surcharges.

The Hobbit dropped by a huge 73 percent from its first Friday to $10.2 million yesterday, which puts it on pace for a $33 million weekend. That would give The Hobbit a running total of about $147 million by Sunday, its tenth day of release. The Return of the King had earned $190.8 million after 10 days in theaters, and it was only about halfway to its final total, but The Hobbit is falling much faster, and it will need to hold up remarkably well over the holiday to have a shot at $300 million domestically. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'The Hobbit' breaks December record with $84.8 million weekend

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As expected, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, crushed the competition at the box office in its debut weekend, setting a new December record in the process.

The Middle-earth-set film grossed $84.8 million over its first three days, handily surpassing I Am Legend‘s $77.2 million bow, which has held the record for best December debut since 2007. The Hobbit earned that $84.8 million from 4,045 theaters, giving it a powerful $20,958 per theater average. Included in that theater count were 326 IMAX locations, which accounted for $10.1 million of the weekend gross, as well as 461 locations that showed the film in the controversial 48 frames per second rate — those screenings, thankfully, had no surcharge. About 49 percent of The Hobbit‘s weekend take came from 3-D showings.

All told, The Hobbit‘s debut weekend was obviously strong, but it must be said that it finished at the low end of pre-release expectations, most of which had the film earning more than $100 million in its debut frame. The Hobbit, the first in a trilogy produced by New Line and MGM (with Warner Bros. distributing) for a reported $600 million, earned $37.5 million on Friday, yet it only managed an internal multiplier (that’s weekend gross divided by Friday gross) of 2.25 — a very low number that signifies front-loaded performance. Judging by The Hobbit‘s 25 percent plummet on Saturday, it appears that the Tolkien faithful rushed out for the film early in the weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'The Hobbit' walks away with $37.5 million on Friday

UNEXPECTED-JOURNEY

We already knew that The Hobbit earned a whopping $13.0 million during midnight showings, but over the course of its first full day in theaters the film took in an estimated $37.5 million, the highest gross ever for a December opening day.

The next best December bow was also of the Middle-earth variety – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King grossed $34.5 million on its opening day, a Wednesday, in 2003. Notably, The Hobbit sold fewer tickets on its opening day than Return of the King, but its gross was higher because of ticket price inflation and 3-D/IMAX surcharges. Still, huge is huge — and The Hobbit is headed for a mammoth debut. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Skyfall' returns to No. 1, becomes highest grossing film in Sony history; Gerard Butler's 'Playing for Keeps' flops

In the box-office lull before the arrival The Hobbit next weekend, Skyfall returned to the number-one spot at the box office, becoming the first film since How to Train Your Dragon to lead the chart in its fifth week. It also became the highest grossing Sony release of all time. Not too shabby, Mr. Bond.

Skyfall topped the domestic rankings with an estimated $11.0 million (down a slim 34 percent from last weekend), which brings its North American total to a stunning $261.1 million. It’s difficult to adequately express how incredible — and somewhat inexplicable — Skyfall‘s run has been. The former franchise high-point for the Bond series was Quantum of Solace, which grossed $168.4 million in 2008. Skyfall has obviously crushed that total, and it still has ample life left in its run. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Skyfall' earns $3.1 million on Friday, which, sadly, is enough for first place

For the third straight weekend, the same five movies will take up the top five spots on the chart, though there’s been a switch at the very top.

As expected, Skyfall ruled the roost on Friday, kicking off what is shaping up to be the slowest weekend at the box office since the recent sad September frame, when the industry faced the lowest grosses in over a decade. The James Bond film took in $3.1 million on Friday, putting it on pace for a $10.5 million weekend and a first-place ranking — a rather remarkable feat considering Skyfall is currently in its fifth weekend and has spent the last three as a runner-up to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Skyfall' set to kick 'Playing for Keeps' to the curb

As theater owners buckle down and stockpile the popcorn in preparation for The Hobbit opening on Dec. 14, it’s another quiet week at the box office, as the only new wide release is a critically reviled soccer mom rom-com (say that five times fast) called Playing for Keeps, which seems destined for box office flopdom.

Skyfall, a five-week-old movie that hasn’t been in the top spot for the last three weekends, has the best shot at reclaiming the No. 1 slot. However, we might see any of the top four films below in first place — it’s that close. Here’s how the weekend may play out.

1. Skyfall – $10.5 million

The James Bond picture, which has led the weekday box office over the past two days (and will pass $250 million domestically today), seems like the likeliest contender for No. 1. A 35 to 40 percent drop would give the action film an $10.5 million weekend. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: Brad Pitt's 'Killing Them Softly' misfires with $7 million debut, 'F' CinemaScore

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The post-Thanksgiving frame has always been a slow one, and this year was no exception. Two new releases entered theaters — including the Brad Pitt vehicle Killing Them Softly — and both were met with unenthusiastic responses. Among holdovers, the Top 10 movies fell by an average of 51 percent. Basically, not too much happened at the box office this week. In fact, the top six movies finished in the exact same spots as last week.

Atop the chart was The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – Part 2, which dropped 60 percent to $17.4 million, lifting its total to $254.6 million after three weekends. The $120 million Summit sequel is holding substantially better than its predecessor, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which had earned $246.9 million at the same point in its run before finishing with $281.3 million domestically. Internationally, the franchise finale is getting a gigantic boost. The film earned an additional $48.4 million this weekend, bringing its overseas gross to $447.8 million and its worldwide total to $702.4 million. It’s headed to a franchise-high finish around $800 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Breaking Dawn' leads Friday with $5.6M, 'Killing Them Softly' slapped with $2.5M and 'F' CinemaScore

Call it a turkey hangover. Friday grosses are (mostly) in, and, as expected, the box office is way down from the lucrative Thanksgiving frame.

The top of the chart looks just the same as it did last week. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 stayed in first place with $5.6 million, putting it on pace for a third weekend of $17 million, which would bring its total to $254 million. Skyfall and Lincoln were close behind, grossing $4.9 million and $4.0 million, respectively. Skyfall may walk away with about $16 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period, while Lincoln should earn about $14 million.

Life of Pi and Rise of the Guardians swapped the rankings they earned in their debuts last weekend — but they’ll likely switch again by the frame’s end. Life of Pi scored $3.3 million on Friday, and it may sail to $12 million by Sunday. Rise of the Guardians earned a bit less with $3.0 million, but thanks to strong family showings, the DreamWorks animation should reach about $13 million, which will bring its total to a discouraging $48 million.

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – $5.6 million
2. Skyfall – $4.9 million
3. Lincoln – $4.0 million
4. Life of Pi – $3.3 million
5. Rise of the Guardians – $3.0 million

The Weinstein Co.’s Brad Pitt vehicle Killing Them Softly disappointed with just $2.5 million on its first day. The Andrew Dominik-directed crime drama will have to settle for about $7 million. Even more distressing is how poorly Killing is playing with moviegoers. The feature, which critics overwhelmingly like, earned an “F” CinemaScore — the same grade that audiences gave reviled found-footage entry The Devil Inside earlier this year.

Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, and follow me on Twitter for more box office musing.

Box office preview: With 'Killing' set to open 'Softly,' 'Twilight' and 'Skyfall' aim for No. 1

This weekend, The Weinstein Co. is releasing Killing Them Softly, the Andrew Dominik-directed crime drama starring Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini into 2,424 theaters. But the well-reviewed art piece will likely have trouble breaking out — especially in a crowded field full of holdovers that are still raking in big bucks since last weekend’s record-breaking Thanksgiving frame. Also entering theaters is the little-known horror film The Collection, which is hitting 1,403 locations.

Neither film poses a legitimate threat to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Skyfall, or Lincoln, all three of which will duke it out for the top spot.

Here’s how I think the box office may shake out over the Friday-to-Sunday period: READ FULL STORY

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