×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Rings’ wins by force of Hobbit

Tolkien tale tops at $37 mil; 'Eleven' beats 'Ali' to punch

The fabled denizens of Middle Earth battled to the top of the box office heap again this weekend.

New Line’s “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” led a strong B.O. field with an estimated $37.4 million in its soph sesh. Perf boosted PG-13 fantasy’s cume to $154.5 million, putting the first of a planned three “Rings” movies on track for at least $250 million in domestic B.O.

Warner Bros.’ family fantasy “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” will fly well past the magical $300 million mark. Cume reached $286.1 million after a 61% uptick to $11.5 million in its seventh weekend, good for sixth place on the sesh.

It remains to be seen whether “Rings” can do as well; distrib has been saying from the start pic will impress more as a B.O. marathoner than a sprinter.

The latest frame saw two wide openers — Sony’s “Ali” and Miramax’s “Kate & Leopold” — finish third and seventh, respectively, with $15.3 million and $9.5 million over the three-day weekend. Both pics bowed on Christmas.

Industrywide, the weekend’s $170 million in total grosses repped a 22% increase over the same three days last year, according to data from B.O. tracker ACNielsen EDI. Distribs penciled in particularly strong estimates for Sunday grosses over the most recent frame, because most students and many workers are off today.

In any event this weekend clearly showed more B.O. vigor than the pre-Christmas frame. A notable five pictures among the session’s top 10 marked bigger grosses than in that previous sesh. hose included the weekend’s second-ranked “Ocean’s Eleven.” Warner’s ensemble laffer was up 18% with an estimated $17.4 million in the frame.

Elsewhere, Tim Allen-starrer “Joe Somebody” from 20th Century Fox and urban laffer “How High” from Universal fell from the top 10 in their soph seshes. “Joe” grossed an estimated $5.6 million, “High” $5.2 million.

Fox execs were scratching their heads at the failure of “Joe” to corner a share of the family market. But it may be notable that Disney/Pixar tooner “Monsters, Inc.” managed a 71% uptick this weekend to $6.5 million in ninth place.

The failure of Warners/Castle Rocks’ “The Majestic” to generate Yuletide biz was another surprise, with Jim Carrey starrer sinking to No. 10 in its soph sesh with an estimated $5.6 million.

The disappointments come amid a crush of competish at the B.O. this holiday season. But at least one industry exec said public preferences remain the biggest arbiter of success.

“The public has the only sniffer that counts,” the insider mused.

Sony marketing and distrib topper Jeff Blake said the opening week for “Ali” was “a great start.” He predicted that kudos attention will help biopic sustain its momentum.

Michael Mann-helmed production carries an estimated negative cost of $105 million, split evenly between Sony and foreign-rights partner Initial Entertainment Group.

Hopes for action

Miramax marketing veep David Kaminow insisted the $17.1 million in B.O. that “Kate & Leopold” accumulated over its first six days was “obviously good.” But he acknowledged distrib hopes Meg Ryan-Hugh Jackman starrer can gain more momentum in subsequent weeks.

“There’s some tough competition our there right now, but we’re the only romantic comedy for the next few weeks,” Kaminow observed.

New Line marketing maven Russell Schwartz expressed satisfaction that “Rings,” an adaptation of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel, seemed to be playing well with ever-broader demos.

But Schwartz said pic’s mushrooming success wouldn’t goose merchandise revenue appreciably just yet. Sales of “Rings” figures and trinkets should pick up prior to the second of the planned film trilogy, he added.

“The merchandising wasn’t supposed to be a big thing with the original,” Schwartz noted. “We didn’t expect that to take off until sometime between the first and the second pictures. And it may happen more quickly now, with the success of the first ‘Rings.’ “

More Film

  • Mammoth Films Festival to Open With

    'In Fabric' to Open Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

    Director Peter Strickland’s “In Fabric” starring “Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christie is set to open the fifth Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, the organization has announced today along with their film lineup. The festival in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., will take place May 22-26 and feature several films’ U.S. debuts. In addition to the narrative feature [...]

  • Kristen Stewart'JT LeRoy' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Kristen Stewart: 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot Is 'Woke' but Still 'Funny and Weird'

    “Charlie’s Angels” has made the jump to 2019. Kristen Stewart, who stars in the Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot as one of the Angels, says the classic ’70s franchise has been updated to modern times without losing its pulpy action. “At one point I think we said it was woke and grounded, and everyone was like, ‘Wait, [...]

  • Calamity Jane

    Indie Sales Acquires Remi Chayé's Female-Driven Animated Feature 'Calamity' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based company Indie Sales (“My Life as a Zucchini”) has acquired Rémi Chayé’s animated film “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” the French helmer’s follow up to his critically acclaimed feature debut “Long Way North.” “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary” tells the story of the 12-year-old Martha Jane who must [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson on 2020 Election, Avengers

    Scarlett Johansson on Running for Office: 'Maybe at Some Point'

    President Scarlett Johansson, anyone? While she may not be running for office at the moment, Johansson says a campaign may be in her future. “Maybe some time in the future,” she says when asked if her political activism has inspired her own aspirations. “I think the greatest way to effect change is in local politics. [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Netflix Acquires Tribeca Doc 'Circus of Books,' Exec Produced by Ryan Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rachel Mason wrote and directed the pic, and also produced it along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman executive produced. [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content