Box Office: ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ to Lead Crowded Christmas; ’47 Ronin’ a Financial Wreck

wolf of wall street

Keanu Reeves $175 million tentpole tracking in single digits; Stiller's 'Walter Mitty,' 'Grudge Match' also opening

Moviegoers will have plenty to unwrap in theaters Christmas Day, with a hefty eight films opening, including Martin Scorsese’s latest “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the Keanu Reeves samurai tentpole “47 Ronin.” But auds still are likely to crown Warner Bros.’ third-frame holdover “The Hobbit” as the B.O. champ, with a projected five-day gross at north of $40 million.

“Wolf of Wall Street,” which Paramount is releasing at more than 2,500 Stateside locations, looks to have the edge among the new entries, tracking in the mid-$20 millions Friday-Sunday. Par expects the film to gross somewhere in the $30 million range in five days, with opening day expectations at around $7 million.

Meanwhile, Fox’s “Walter Mitty” and Warner Bros.’ older-skewing “Grudge Match,” starring Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, are projected to land in the high-teens in three days. Both look to eclipse an expected disastrous start for Universal’s long-delayed costly tentpole, “47 Ronin,” which looks unlikely to top $10 million from Friday to Sunday.

Also bowing Wednesday is the second concert docu from teen music idol Justin Bieber, “Believe,” which Open Road is releasing at 1,037 playdates. That pic should rival “Ronin” in the high-single-digits-to-low-teens range.

In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics bows Ralph Fiennes’ sophomore directorial effort “The Invisible Woman” at three theaters on Wednesday in New York and L.A. Universal’s Mark Wahlberg Navy Seals action-drama “Lone Survivor” also launches midweek at two theaters.

The Weinstein Co. expands “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” to 975 locations on Christmas, followed by “August: Osage County,” which bows Friday at five theaters.

With Christmas falling on a Wednesday, the broad selection of openers are taking advantage of the best timing box office-wise. That’s because people are more willing to take off the rest of the week than if Christmas had come earlier in the week. Therefore, Thursday should be also be a sizable lead-up to the weekend.

Audiences will have plenty of other options with holdovers including “Anchorman 2” and “The Hobbit.” For families, Disney’s “Frozen” continues to be the most obvious choice, though Fox has a pair of all-audience hopefuls with “Walter Mitty” and “Walking With Dinosaurs,” which opened weakly last weekend.

SEE ALSO: How ‘Frozen’ Became This Year’s Surprise Holiday B.O. Present

“Walter Mitty” has been a tough sell for Fox all along, however.

The film, which has gone through several different development stages before Stiller’s version, tells a story of a depressed man who goes on a global journey of self-discovery. Fox has tried to sell the film’s sense of adventure as a family-friendly element, though tracking has been sluggish thus far.

Still, the $90 million-budgeted Fox film, which ultimately could leg out over the holiday, isn’t looking as dire for profitability as “47 Ronin.” Universal and Elliot Inc.’s $175 million-plus effects-laden samurai movie starring Keanu Reeves already has bombed in Japan; it has grossed just $6.2 million total internationally.

Universal expands “47 Ronin” to 27 overseas markets day-and-date with North America.

Likely topping the new entries, Paramount’s “Wolf of Wall Street” looks to benefit from the B.O. power of Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio, though its nearly three-hour length will limit the number of screenings each day.

“Wall Street” cost just under $100 million to produce, from Red Granite, as well as Appian Way and Sikelia Productions.

Paramount also launches Jason Reitman’s “Labor Day” beginning Friday for a one-week Oscar qualifying run at the Arclight Hollywood. Pic expands nationwide Jan. 31.


Film (Distributor): Locations

  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Fox): 3,000
  • Grudge Match (WB): 2,838
  • 47 Ronin (Universal): 2,688
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount): 2,537
  • Justin Bieber’s Believe (Open Road): 1,037
  • August: Osage County* (Weinstein): 5
  • The Invisible Woman (Sony Classics): 3
  • Lone Survivor (Universal): 2
  • Labor Day* (Paramount): 1


  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Weinstein): 4-975

*bows Friday

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  1. M.K. Robertson says:

    Losses created to offset previous profits. Why pay taxes when execs can take it all.

  2. Saw half of the wolf of wall street and walked out. It was nothing but trash. Pure filth. Needs to be dumped in a can, doused with gas, and set on fire. Is a pile of cash and an hour and a half of my life I’ll never get back. Honestly, that is the first movie I have ever walked out of, and I’ve seen some stinkers.

  3. I dont think they promoted the 47 ronin good enough i only saw one trailer this christmas!!!

  4. sunflowerpower says:

    Stay nervous, Bert. Me, I like a dirty little gift from time to time, and my favorite golden box with a bow under the tree was directly from Uncle Marty this year.

  5. bert says:

    I like my presents to have nice contents so I’m staying away from the wolf and the bieber… saw “Grudge”, and it was hilarious, and I’ve been looking forward to “Mitty” forever.

  6. SteveK. says:

    Just saw Grudge Match – this film is so much fun!
    The perfect Christmas movie!

  7. ivan says:

    Believe is opening at a fraction of the theaters, for now, that N.S.N. had at a budget of 4 million. So it cannot be expected to gross the same amount of money. Over the long run, it will do well.

  8. omahasooner says:

    Wolf Of Wall Street should have no problem opening in the 30-40 million range for the five day period. The box office is crowded, but the standouts will/are separating themselves from the flops/fiascos. Hobbit, and Anchorman 2 both did about 30 million or more over the weekend and added big Monday turnout dollars as well. We saw Oscar contender, and true gem of the season, NEBRASKA, today at a nearly sold out showing, in between finishing-up Christmas shopping. If NEBRASKA can have a big Christmas eve/day showing at the box office, I’m sure films such as Wolf of Wall Street, Hobbit, and Anchorman 2 are going to do major business.

  9. TheBigBangOf20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    47 Ronin sound like a niche Tarantino film that belongs in a grindhouse of the 60s. Why show this to an Xmas audience? How dumb can you get? This picture must have been green via lit blind nepotism.

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