There was nothing really “unexpected” about this Hobbit’s journey: it was clearly going to take the top spot in the weekend box office.
The new Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, won the number one spot with $84.8 million. Despite setting a new record for a December opening, unseating 2007’s I am Legend, which earned $77 million, The Hobbit fell short of $100 million for the weekend, which many industry insiders thought it would easily reach. When averaging in the price increases for IMAX and 3-D films, it may have had lower attendance in its first weekend than The Return of the King, the final film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, according to Box Office Mojo.
The Hobbit also brought in less than the Bond franchise’s latest, Skyfall, did in its opening weekend ($88.3 million). Skyfall, from Sony pictures, is still in the top five this weekend, though it fell to fourth place in its sixth week, with $7 million. It remains Sony’s highest grossing film in over five years.
The approaching holidays continue to help Dreamworks’ festive tale, Rise of the Guardians, keeping it in the number two spot, earning $7.4 million in its fourth week. Lincoln commanded the third spot with $7.4 million in its sixth week, and its total gross of $107.9 million overtook Argo’s $104.9 million after ten weeks, making it the highest grossing Oscar best-picture contender.
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi refuses to budge from that number five spot, which it has held since its opening weekend, this time taking in $5.4 million. Overall, it has grossed $69.5 million after 4 weeks. Hopefully its Golden Globe best picture-drama nomination and pre-Oscar buzz will help it in the coming weeks.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 dropped to the number six spot, taking in $5.2 million, with an overall gross of $276.8 million. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph remains strong in sixth place with $3.2 million, $168.8 million gross. Gerard Butler’s latest Playing for Keeps dropped to eighth place in its second week with $3.2 million, and Red Dawn inexplicably holds steady at number nine with $2.3 million, despite an 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps it is residual from fans of The Hunger Games or The Avengers because of Josh Hutcherson or Chris Hemsworth, respectively.
The Golden Globes and pre-Oscar buzz seems to be helping Weinstein Brothers’ Silver Linings Playbook, moving it up from the number eleven spot to round out the top ten. It took in $2 million this weekend and is the only top ten movie playing in limited release, in only 371 theatres, according to Box Office Mojo.