Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug

Leading the Christmas Day derby, Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” collected $9.3 million, followed closely by Paramount’s newcomer “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which grossed $9.2 million opening day.

The crowded holiday fray has no fewer than eight films bowing or expanding nationwide through Friday, including “Wolf,” as well as Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which landed in forth place on Wednesday, grossing $7.8 million (behind “Anchorman 2,” with $8.1 million).

Also bowing midweek were Universal’s “47 Ronin” and Warner’s “Grudge Match,” which made $7 million and $4 million, respectively.

Neither is a solid start, especially for the former film, which looks to be a big financial flop given its lofty $175 million-plus budget. That said, “Ronin” received a better-than-expected ‘B+’ CinemaScore rating. Pic’s international prospects are troubling also considering it failed to catch on in Japan, where the samurai tentpole is set; it’s made $10 million overseas so far.

Despite a ‘C’ CinemaScore from audiences, Paramount’s “Wolf of Wall Street” had a strong start, particularly given its nearly three-hour runtime, limiting the number of screenings each day. “Wolf” is expected to gross somewhere in the high-$20 millions in three days, with around $40 million in five days.

“The Hobbit,” meanwhile, should see a three-day drop comparable to its predecessor last year, which fell 14% this same frame for a $31 million Friday-Sunday gross. So far, the sequel has amassed nearly $150 million domestically through Wednesday.

At slightly more than 1,000 locations, Open Road also bowed Justin Beiber’s concert docu “Believe” on Wednesday when it grossed $1.3 million.

Debuting Friday in limited release are the Weinstein Co.’s “August: Osage County” at five engagements and Par’s “Labor Day” for an exclusive one-week run at one.

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