Holiday box office crowded, not too busy

Nearly a dozen films opening, none spectacularly

Above: Paramount’s ‘Jack Reacher,’ starring Tom Cruise, is expected to land in the low-to-mid teens.

Nearly a dozen films open between Wednesday and Friday, kick-starting what is the most crowded Christmas play period ever at the domestic box office — though it won’t be the busiest.

None of the weekend’s five wide releases, including Wednesday openers, Paramount’s “The Guilt Trip” and Disney’s “Monsters, Inc.” 3D re-issue, are expected to go beyond the mid teens, which leaves Warner Bros.’ hearty holdover “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” to carry most of the weight.

“Hobbit” took in $7.7 million on Monday, bringing the pic’s domestic cume to $92.4 million.

Paramount alone launches four pics this weekend, with “The Guilt Trip” expected to gross $6 million-$8 million, while Tom Cruise actioner “Jack Reacher” likely will land in the low-to-mid teens. The studio’s other Friday releases include 3D spectacle “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” at 800 locations, and music indie “Not Fade Away,” from Paramount Vantage, which launches at three.

Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty” begins its platform roll out Wednesday on the coasts at five locations. Anything north of $40,000 per screen for the Mark Boal-Kathryn Bigelow collab would be solid.

Six more films open next week, starting Christmas day.

Rivaling “Jack Reacher” for the top spot among the new entries is Universal’s Judd Apatow comedy “This Is 40,” though the R-rated laffer has a slightly more limited core than the Par pic, which is rated PG-13. Meanwhile, “Monsters Inc.” is expected to gross $10 million-$12 million in three days, with a mid-teens upside in five.

Still, the weekend’s modest all-around tracking isn’t too troubling, since pics this time of year tend to gross, on average, five to six times their Stateside openings.

A handful of other pics open limited over the next few days, including Wednesday’s Austrian Oscar foreign-lingo contender “Amour,” at three locations, and Summit’s tsunami disaster pic “The Impossible,” which launches Friday at 15 theaters.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • 'Elephant' Review: Less Majestic Than the

    'Elephant,' Narrated by Meghan Markle: Film Review

    Of all the members of the animal kingdom we think of as akin to humans — chimps, dolphins, whales, perhaps (if we’re being honest about it) our dogs — elephants may be the most movingly and preternaturally aware. Because you can see how intelligent they are. You see it in a chimp’s face, too, of [...]

  • Ken Shimura

    Ken Shimura Japanese Comedian Dies of Coronavirus Age 70

    Ken Shimura, a comedian who was a fixture on Japanese television for decades, died on Sunday evening from the coronavirus, the Japanese media reported Monday. He was 70, and immediately before his illness had been set for his first starring role in a feature film. Shimura entered a Tokyo hospital on March 20 with fever [...]

  • Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer,

    Gerard Schurmann, Film and TV Composer, Dies at 96

    Gerard Schurmann, whose 1960s film scores included “The Bedford Incident” and “Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow” but who also composed extensively for the concert hall, died March 24 at his home in the Hollywood Hills. The cause of death was not announced; he was 96. Schurmann’s death was announced by his music publisher, Novello & [...]

  • Rita And Tom Hanks Coronavirus

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Return to U.S. After Coronavirus Diagnosis in Australia

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back home in the U.S. after they revealed they had contracted coronavirus and were quarantined in Australia. Hanks gave an update on Twitter Saturday morning, thanking everyone who had helped them in Australia and assuring people that they are still isolating themselves in the U.S. “Hey, folks…We’re home now [...]

  • Film Comment Magazine Goes on Hiatus

    Film Comment Magazine to Go on Hiatus as Film at Lincoln Center Lays Off Half of Staff

    Many companies are being financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the Film at Lincoln Center is the latest organization to have to lay off employees and pause some of their operations. On Friday, executive director Lesli Klainberg released a memo announcing that the center had to furlough or lay off about half of its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content