MCN Columnists
Leonard Klady

By Leonard Klady Klady@moviecitynews.com

The Weekend Report

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug handily dominated weekend box office with an estimated debut frame of $73.7 million. The session’s only other national release, A Madea Christmas, made merry with $16 million and ranked third in the lineup.

Eyes were also fixed on a couple of awards contenders that dipped into the marketplace. Behind-the-scenes Mary Poppins opus Saving Mr. Banks opened to an impressive $422,000 from 15 chim-chim-cherees while Abscam-inspired American Hustle peek-a-boo’ed an eye-popping $683,000 on a mere six screens.

Bollywood sat out the frame but the considerably smaller Korean circuit saw good returns of S69,500 on Friend 2 at 14 venues.

Overall revenues climbed to $150 million plus to set a record for this particular weekend. It was a 57% improvement from last weekend and 7% better than the 2012 session when the debut of the first Hobbit film led the field with $84.6 million.

With just 10 shopping days to Christmas, domestic box office is sitting at $10.16 billion, a slim 1% behind last year’s pace with sufficient time to close the gap before cork-popping time.

While no one was diminishing the potent start of Hobbit 2, there was concern that part 2 was at about 13% less than last year’s inspiration on the domestic front. The film added roughly $130 million from day-and-day releases in 49 foreign climes and that was roughly on par with 2012 results according to studio tracking.

Critically, Smaug was generally received warmly, following the tepid response accorded the first trek. It should be more than capable of withstanding the year-end onslaught of new films with (and likely) and without figuring into kudos mania.

The film skewed 60% male and had an opening audience that was 64% aged 25-years and older in North America. Close to half the audience opted for 3D engagements and the 344 IMAX locations accounted for 12.5% of the opening gross.

The decidedly counterprogrammed A Madea Christmas found its niche in a season where most in that position have come up short. The film had a different target audience ethnically and drew a 67% female audience. Its 25-year old plus viewers comprised 63% of opening weekend business.

On the slippery slope known as awards season, every step is precarious, and both Banks and Hustle could breathe easily… for the moment. Expansions of Nebraska and Llewyn Davis also cleared their respective hurdles effectively while Dallas Buyers Club and All is Lost are beginning to falter  although both have staked out real estate in acting territories and should be able to maintain commercial visibility into the New Year.

Weekend (estimates) December 13 – 15, 2013
Title Distributor Gross (average) % change * Theaters Cume
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug WB 73.7 (18,890) NEW 3903 73.7
Frozen BV 22.2 (5,980) -30% 3716 164.4
A Madea Christmas Lionsgate 16.0 (7,300) NEW 2194 16
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Lionsgate 13.2 (3,700) -50% 3563 357
Thor: The Dark World BV 2.7 (1,210) -43% 2264 198.2
Out of the Furnace Relativity/VVS 2.3 (1,110) -55% 2101 9.5
Delivery Man BV 1.9 (920) -50% 2041 28
Philomena Weinstein Co, 1.8 (2,110) -20% 835 11
The Book Thief Fox 1.7 (1,450) -36% 1158 14.9
Homefront Open Road/VVS 1.6 (780) -52% 2103 18.5
Dallas Buyers Club Focus/Remstar 1.1 (1,970) -25% 574 14.3
The Best Man Holiday Uni 1.0 (1,090) -81% 922 69
Nebraska Par .88 (3,520) 69% 250 3.3
Gravity WB .73 (1,450) -40% 503 252.8
12 Years a Slave Fox Searchlight .69 (1,390) -40% 497 36.3
American Hustle Sony .68 (113,830) NEW 6 0.68
Last Vegas CBS .52 (720) -59% 726 61.7
Saving Mr. Banks BV .42 (28,130) NEW 15 0.42
Inside Llewyn Davis CBS .34 (22,730) -16% 15 0.89
Captain Phillips Sony .28 (860) -45% 323 104
Bad Grandpa Par .26 (560) -69% 456 100.5
Ender’s Game Lionsgate .21 (640) -56% 331 60.5
All is Lost Roadside .16 (610) 52% 261 5.7
Despicable Me 2 Uni .14 (620) -17% 223 367.3
Weekend Total ($500,000+ Films) $142.70
% Change (Last Year) 7%
% Change (Last Week) 57%
Also debuting/expanding
Blue Jasmine Sony Classics .10 (330) 264% 302 32.9
The Christmas Candle Echolight 88,200 (500) -49% 175 2.1
The Great Beauty Janus 85,800 (2,380) -4% 36 0.52
Friend 2: The Legacy CJ Entertainment 69,500 (4,960) 14 0.07
Blue is the Warmest Color (Adèle) Metropole/IFC 65,700 (1,080) -23% 61 2.4
Hours Film Arcade 44,700 (2,790) 16 0.04
Mandella: Long Walk to Freedom Weinstein Co, 31,300 (7,830) -58% 4 0.24
Marius Metropole 13,300 (1,660) 8 0.01
Liv & Ingmar Janus 4,900 (2,450) 2 0.01
Tricked Kino 2,900 (2,900) 1 0.01
Some Velvet Morning TriBeCa 2,700 (1,350) 2 0.01
Domestic Market Share (Jan. 1 – Dec. 12, 2013)
Distributor (releases) Box Office (millions) Market Share
Warner Bros. (22) 1639.8 16.10%
Buena Vista (14) 1535.5 15.10%
Universal (17) 1390.3 13.70%
Sony (18) 1064.5 10.50%
20th Century Fox (16) 1001.6 9.90%
Lionsgate (26) 972.5 9.60%
Paramount (14) 831.2 8.20%
Weinstein Co. (25) 485.6 4.80%
Relativity (9) 233.4 2.30%
FilmDistrict (9) 204.1 2.00%
Open Road (7) 129.7 1.30%
Fox Searchlight (11) 111.9 1.10%
Focus (9) 97.7 0.90%
CBS (5) 81.9 0.80%
Sony Classics (17) 69.3 0.70%
eOne/Seville (28) 60.2 0.60%
Other * (324) 239.8 2.40%
10014.7 100%
* none greater than 0.45%
Top Domestic Grossers (Jan. 1 – Dec. 12, 2013)
Title Distributor Box Office
Iron Man 3 BV 409,147,687
Despicable Me 2 Uni 367,212,050
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Lionsgate 343,831,997
Man of Steel WB 291,142,307
Monsters University BV 268,478,097
Gravity WB 252,033,608
Fast & Furious 6 Uni 238,734,755
Oz the Great and Powerful BV 234,911,825
Star Trek Into Darkness Par 228,792,885
World War Z Par 202,359,711
Thor: The Dark World BV 195,425,689
The Croods Fox 187,198,596
The Heat Fox 159,582,188
We’re the Millers WB 150,471,397
The Great Gatsby WB 144,875,623
Frozen BV 142,204,073
The Conjuring WB 137,400,141
Identity Thief Uni 134,863,488
Grown Ups 2 Sony 133,732,565
The Wolverine Fox 132,556,852

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Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4