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David Poland

By David Poland

Weekend Estimates by The Big Hairy Feet Of Klady

So… not only didn’t The Hobbit get to $100m this weekend (as endlessly hyped by some outlets), it performed slightly off of reasonable expectations based on the Friday number. (Personally, I was thinking more like $90m.) However, it’s still a December record, still a monster opening for December, and still not a big statement on 48 fps.

As expected, the kids’ movie, Rise of The Guardians, bounced up the leaderboard, as kids movies’ worst weekend day tends to be Friday with big Saturday bumps and smaller Sunday ones. But DWA also has a history of overestimating, so the final line-up could change again.

Lincoln had another strong hold—an estimated 22%—and has finally passed Argo‘s domestic total.

Skyfall is now The Biggest Bond by more than 50%, racking up $951m worldwide and still knocking out $20m worldwide weekends. $1 billion looks to be in range by the end of the holiday.

Life of Pi is having a solid, but unspectacular run.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is already the biggest worldwide Twilight film (already 10% or so higher than any of the previous entries internationally), but the domestic, still kicking, looks like it will land as the #3 grosser of the series. Fortunately, even though most media seems not to care, international money spends the same way domestic does.

Domestically, Wreck-It-Ralph is the #4 animated film of the year. Tangled‘s $200m is not likely in the cards, but the bar is now pretty high on Disney Animation, much like the rising tide of Sony Animation. The big question is whether DreamWorks Animation, now to be distributed by Fox and accelerating to THREE animated released a year will help the animation business, start to kill the goose that’s been laying golden eggs, or be a non-issue.

(ED Note: Corrected for missing movies with higher grosses than Wreck-It Ralph.)

Silver Linings Playbook seems to be waiting for Oscar nominations to expand, though as perplexing as this release pattern is for some, it may work. The per-screen is the fourth highest for the weekend (behind Hobbit, the 6-screen release of the great Rust & Bone, and 36 Hyde Park on the Hudson screens). Does this interest ever convert to a wide release? This is the big question.

34 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by The Big Hairy Feet Of Klady”

  1. etguild2 says:

    The ongoing “Guardians” is a failure vs “Pi” is doing okay narrative is fascinating to me. These films probably won’t, in the end, be that much different in terms of financial loss (though “Guardians” will admittedly lose more). I guess it’s fair to say the overreaction is due to Dreamworks Animation launching just one new franchise in the last four years. “Croods” looks plenty good enough to quell everyone’s fears.

  2. Mike says:

    Silver Linings finally expanded here, so my wife and I got a sitter and went. The theater wasn’t very full, and the shaky-cam made my wife so sick we had to leave halfway through. I’m now trying to decide if it’s worth it to go back. What I saw was good, but it’s definitely been overhyped.

  3. David Poland says:

    etg – Not sure I buy that there is a Rise vs Pi narrative anywhere… they are more parallel issues than anything.

    Guardians was clearly a wannabe franchise, not Bee Movie. And I don’t think Croods is some sort of lock.

    DWA is one of the only movie-only companies left in town (and on the stock exchange). So every movie matters.

    As for Pi, I think there are people who feel like a movie about a boy and a tiger on a boat doing over $70m is a miracle, not matter what it cost. Low expectations are on its side.

  4. etguild2 says:

    Aside from “Bee Movie,” the Aardman stuff and maybe “Over the Hedge,” every Dreamworks Animation movie released in the last decade was seen as potential franchise material David.

    Agree on the movie mattering more to the bottom line I suppose. Still, keep in mind Dreamworks has three movies basically in the can for next year, and you are not seeing articles like this on “Life of Pi.”

  5. eric mayher says:

    Hey dave the box office researching is a little sloppy today. Madgasdar 3 and Lorax both did over 200 million domestic so I think they are 2 and 3 for the year.

  6. Js Partisan says:

    “Fortunately, even though most media seems not to care, international money spends the same way domestic does.” Seriously David, I wish people would get this through their heads because if you ever have a discussion with someone about box office and bring up international, they look at you as if you have horns on your head. Why the media doesn’t push international enough is beyond me.

    That aside, does the Hobbit have legs or do the eighty five movies opening next weekend undercut it? It’s the seventh best LOTR film and HFR is not ready for primetime, but I am not ready to write it off yet. There’s something interesting about it, even if it speeds up people walking for some reason.

  7. antho42 says:

    Hey David Poland and Scott Mendelson, are we witnessing the Rite of Spring Effect in regards to the 48 format ( audio analysis on Rites of Springs starts at the 31:30 mark)?

    A lot of people who have seen the film twice in 48 have said that the format gets better on rewatch (i.e., James Rochi and Matthew Price).

  8. anghus says:

    christ almighty the hobbit was a chore. I saw it on a LieMax screen and wasn’t sure if it was 48fps or not. The film looked fine. It was the painfully slow storytelling and redundancy that killed it. I don’t think i have six more hours of interest in this thing.


    Why do they only call on these birds when they’re in trouble? Why does no one think of “the birds that can transport people anywhere quickly” except when they have exhausted every other option. It seems like they’re friendly enough, and quick to help. Gandalf drunk dials these guys every time his shit’s in the frying pan. And then they drop them off on the top of this large craggly rock and they declare “look over there, in the far far distance… the place we want to go”. Maybe the birds could have, i don’t know, flown them over there. Apparently it’s safe for birds as we see the little one fly all the way to the gate. These birds may be the mos t lame and convenient device every. I know, my beef is probably with Tolkien. But he’s dead and i just spend three labored hours at the theater.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Do some writers hesitate to include foreign grosses in the mix because there’s a perception that studios actually derive a smaller percentage of those grosses? I don’t know, just asking.

  10. David Poland says:

    Oy… I looked up animation on Mojo and they stopped highlighting as “current” at 6 months I guess. Dumb. Sorry. Thanks for catching, Eric.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    If you’ve nothing else to do tonight: A Carol for Another Christmas (8 pm ET on TCM) is a genuine oddity. Produced in 1964 as part of a series of movies emphasizing the good deeds of the United Nations, it premiered in the US on ABC back in the day. Ben Gazzara plays a rich dude who’s bitter because his son died in a war. Ghosts come by on Christmas Eve to warn him against the evils of isolationism. Co-stars include Robert Shaw, Peter Sellers, Steve Lawrence and Sterling Hayden. It was written by Robert Serling and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz. And as far as I know, this is the first time it’s been on national TV in decades.

  12. tbunny says:

    Anghus, there are probably more elaborate explanations, but you can think of it like the eagles are what the nerd games call chaotic good (or maybe it’s unaligned good?) They’ll help you out now and then but they are inscrutable demigods who probably have a lot of important eagle business and they’re not too concerned with petty mortals. Consider yourself lucky if you can get any kind of assistance.

  13. lazarus says:

    Maybe the eagles have a certain delivery radius they won’t go past.

    Like a pizza place?

    Joking aside, it was the too-similar structure to Fellowship that bothered me. The Shire–>Rivendell–>Underground attack–>outside orc battle

    And in every respect inferior.

  14. The Big Perm says:

    tbunny, I once had an epic argument with some nerds about those eagles. That’s the argument they made, but the problem is, in every novel Tolkien wrote, an eagle comes by at just the right time to save the day. It happens WAY too often for that mess to stand.

  15. cadavra says:

    A little OT, but the reason I’ve not been around much of late is that I’ve been prepping for a short I’ve written, am producing and–beginning tomorrow–directing. Pray for me. A lot. See you on the other side.

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Perm/Tbunny – My understanding was that in LOTR they couldn’t use the eagles to get in cos the Nazgul had those dragony thingies which would rip the shit out of them. It was only after the ring was destroyed that the Mordor No-Fly-Zone was cleared.

    In Hobbit, I think it was because they weren’t expecting that shit to go down. It’d be like hiring a full armed guard to go visit your folks for Christmas – yeah, if someone tries to carjack you you’ll be glad you did it, but what’s the chances of that happening?

    (And don’t tell me “you haven’t met my folks…”)

  17. Matt P. says:

    My question with them is who are they and why do they always answer to Gandalf. Everyone in the movie is like “The Eagles are coming!” And it’s never explained (in a series with endless exposition) who they are and what they owe a guy like Gandalf. It feels like something really explained in the books and is supposed to be emotional in serving the story, but it’s always so random.

    The one thing about this film that sticks out is that it’s far less emotional. Because we’ve seen a series with fate of the world stakes, this felt a little hollow.

    I remember people wiping away tears several times with Fellowship. It’s just not there here.

    I will see it again because I was tired at a midnight screening, but it felt like it suffered from prequelitis. We know the characters we care about will survive. We’ll see Gandalf, Bilbo, Gollum, the elves, Saramon, etc again.

    I’m sure by itself when it was released, the Hobbit felt like a story that could stand on its own. But the iconic moment has passed in this movie. Whether the Dwarves get their pot o’ gold back feels insignificant.

  18. Js Partisan says:

    Matt, you nailed it the first time. The stakes aren’t that high, we have countless red shirt characters who cannot die for some reason, and let’s just say that the lead character has an arc which has to piss people off by the end of this. I look forward to the last film, when Legolas comes back, but until that happens these films will be reminders of how AWESOME AND MAGICAL the LOTR films actually are, and how great PJ used to be.

  19. greg says:

    Too bad you’re not like me. I havent watched the trilogy (not much of a fantasy fan). Its all new to me.

    I only saw The Hobbit to check out HFR3D. I loved the film and now I can look forward to watching the trilogy.

    I loved the HFR, too.

  20. The Big Perm says:

    Foamy, that reasoning is what geeks use to cover up storytelling problems. Remember, in the first book when their journey begins, the Nazgul are still land bound and don’t have flying dragons. They could have done it then.

    And even after that, aren’t there hundreds of eagles? You put the ringbearer on one, you send them all in as a blitz, there’s no way nine dragons can stop them all. People say that’s a foolhardy plan, but it still seems better than sending a couple of idiots on foot to walk for a YEAR to infiltrate enemy territory and throw the ring in by hand, all that time becoming less immune to the ring’s effects.

  21. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Oh, totally get that Tolkein wrote pretty obtusely. The Nazgul are apparently invulnerable to almost everything, yet sneak around towns and run away when someone waves a torch at them. Elves are just dudes with pointy ears, and yet Glorfindel “revealing his true glory” is the equivalent of deadly fricken’ laser beams. Wizards who dont seem to do much wizardry (“Your staff has run out of batteries”). Half-elves (like Elrond) who may be immortal, while other half-elves aren’t.

    There’s a lot that Tolkein wrote that doesn’t particularly make sense when read literally, hence the large amount of fan reasoning to try and make it work. And considering the lack of detail (most of the dense work is damn elvish poetry), it’s fairly easy to come up with reasons that fit with what’s on the page.

  22. YancySkancy says:

    Joe: Looking forward to A CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS ever since I stumbled upon the TCM listing a couple weeks ago. I’d never heard of it before that, and you’re right–it hasn’t aired since the original date.

    Couple of things: It was written by Rod Serling, not Robert, and I’m pretty sure the ‘rich dude’ is played by Sterling Hayden. Gazzara would’ve been too young in ’64 to play the father of a soldier (unless heavily made up, I suppose). An imdb review says he plays “the nephew.”

  23. The Big Perm says:

    Foamy, my favorite part of the movies…and I don’t know if this was in the books, is when Gandalf chases away the Nazgul by shining a beam of light from his staff. Works like a charm. Then during the siege, he’s all flustered because the Nazgul are wreaking havoc and I’m like, “do that light thing again.”

    But no, he decides he’d better just yell orders and then attack them with a sword.

  24. christian says:

    I love LOTR and Im going but it was weird how I went from glee to grief during the first HOBBITT trailer I saw. I would have prefered a tight two hour film with a totally different style instead of trying to shoehorn all things LOTR.

  25. Joe Leydon says:

    Yancy: You’re right and I’m wrong on both counts. The Serling thing was a typo. But the Hayden/Gazzara mixup was my faulty memory. My only excuse: I think I was 11 or 12 when I last saw the movie. That was a long time ago. But I have recorded it, and look forward to re-watching it.

  26. tbunny says:

    “in every novel Tolkien wrote, an eagle comes by at just the right time to save the day. It happens WAY too often for that mess to stand.”

    Does it happen multiple times in the Hobbit? It happens twice in LOTR. I think the whole appearing just when the battle about to turn at the end is kind of an Eagle calling card. It speaks to their inscrutable awesomeness I think. Eagles are the last thing on your mind and then, wham there they are putting a hurt on the bad guys. I fully support that.

  27. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Eagles are twice in the Hobbit – rescuing the dwarves from the trees, and then Bilbo spots them arriving at the Battle of the Five Armies seconds before he’s knocked unconscious. So it remains to be seen if the second appearance will feature in the 3rd film, after all the Eagles were supposed to be present for some of the battles against Sauron’s armies at the end of LOTR too.

    The general consensus seems to be we’ll probably get the full battle for the film to flesh out the running time, compared to the book where Bilbo – and by extension the reader – pretty much misses the entire thing.

  28. Matt P. says:

    That’s great and all, but will someone in these movies explain their deal.
    For someone who has not read the books, their appearance in these films is perhaps the most random thing ever. I don’t need then to show up again. I need one character to ask who they were and why they keep showing up. Their existence in the films is a distraction in some ways.

  29. tbunny says:

    Matt, we’re talking about a fantasy universe with literally thousands of years of detailed, made up history. A terribly complex pantheon of divine and semi-divine people and creatures. Multiple made up languages, and a whole fictional philology about how those languages relate to one another. Thousands of named fictional people. There are genealogies for Aragorn that include names and dates of dozens (hundreds?) of ancestors. So if a gigantic eagles appears now and then, I think we should be immensely thankful that the staggering tedium of this stupefying legendarium has been lightened up temporarily, and not think too hard about who they are and why they are there.

  30. Matt P. says:

    From a simple storytelling perspective, if they keep appearing you owe it to the viewer to explain who they are. If the movie’s going to push the three hour limit and expand a story that is a prequel, it would have been easy to have two sentences of dialogue explaining why these things appear out of nowehere to bail people out. We got a 10 minute back story to begin each first movie. Two lines of dialogue to explain them isn’t going to stop the movie cold.

    By the way, they look stunning in 3-D.

  31. tbunny says:

    “From a simple storytelling perspective, if they keep appearing you owe it to the viewer to explain who they are.”

    No you don’t! They are who they are. Take a good look. They are badass giant eagles. They are their own explanation.

  32. christian says:

    “It was all too real until the giant flying eagles.”

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, guys! Maybe they just like to… fly like an eagle?

  34. SamLowry says:

    I get it, there are no editors at Gizmodo:

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Masterclass in Why 48 FPS Fails

    By the fourth “if you will” I was ready to kill the tab and never find out what the writer was going on about–and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way into the article!

    Doesn’t help that he gives the impression with subtitles that he’ll describe each of the three viewing experiences separately, then grows bored with that idea during the first run-through and starts mixing them together.

    EDIT: Confirmed. Gizmodo posts a disclaimer at the end saying the article was merely copied from the writer’s own website.

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