Box Office: ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Frozen’ Fuel Christmas Uptick, While Newcomers are Mixed Bag

'Wolf of Wall Street,' 'Walter Mitty' lead holiday entries, with '47 Ronin,' 'Grudge Match' floundering

Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug

Holiday holdovers including “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “Frozen” led the robust Christmas frame, which was up over last year by more than 10%, while a crowded list of newcomers such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” (on the plus side) and “47 Ronin” and “Grudge Match” (on the negative) boosted overall grosses, despite being a mixed bag.

From Friday to Sunday, Warner Bros.-New Line’s “The Hobbit” collected a chart-topping $29.9 million, down just 5% from last weekend, followed closely by Disney’s “Frozen,” which actually grew a remarkable 47% over the previous frame for a three-day gross of $28.8 million.

“The Hobbit,” which now has cume more than $190 million domestically, grossed $49.7 million in five days; “Frozen” hauled in $44.3 million, lifting its Stateside cume to nearly $250 million.

Internationally, “The Hobbit” continues to dominate, grossing $98.3 million for an overseas cume of $423.8 million. That puts “Smaug” in line with its predecessor at this point in its release, totaling north of $614 million globally.

Among the weekend’s new Stateside entries, Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” led the charge (though landed in fifth place overall behind “Anchorman 2” and “American Hustle,” respectively). The newcomer estimated a softer-than-expected $18.5 million over the weekend, but made up for it in the five-day with $34.3 million. However, “Wolf” hasn’t seen the kind of day-to-day improvements as some of the other high-performing titles, which could be attributed, in part, to its divisive ‘C’ CinemaScore rating.

“The film is edgy and it is polarizing, but in a good way,” said Par marketing and distribution head Megan Colligan, who adds that “Wolf” has become a water-cooler-type film.

Paramount plans to expand “Wolf” to smaller markets on Jan. 10, totaling upwards of 3,000 theaters.

For “47 Ronin,” audiences gave it a better-than-expected ‘B+’ CinemaScore, a nice surprise for Universal. Regardless, the studio already has taken a write-down on the big-budget effects-laden tentpole in anticipation of its mediocre bow. The $175 million-budgeted film grossed just $20.6 million in five days. And in two weeks, the film has cumed a mere $22.3 million from 29 overseas markets, including Japan, where it also underperformed.

“Of course we’re disappointed,” said Universal prexy of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco, “but everyone worked really hard bringing this film to market, helping bolster what already is a record-breaking year for the studio.”

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ over-25-skewing film “Grudge Match” hit the mat early, grossing a paltry $13.4 million over the long weekend. Not even the film’s stars Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, both of whom portrayed iconic boxing characters earlier in their careers, could save this head-to-head dud.

Also bombing, Open Road’s Justin Beiber concert docu “Believe” grossed a paltry estimated $2 million Friday-Sunday, with only $4.3 million in five days.

Opening wide on Christmas Day was Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which grossed a decent (though not spectacular) $25.6 million in five days. The $90 million-budgeted PG-rated film needs to broaden to families to maximize potential of the holiday play period. “Mitty” scored an overall ‘B+’ CinemaScore and played similarly to Fox’s “Parental Guidance” last year.

Fox launched “Mitty” day-and-date in 39 overseas markets, where the film grossed an estimated $27.2 million. The film ranked second overall behind “Frozen,” which grossed $50.5 million from 43 territories for an offshore total of $243.5 million.

Money in the ‘Banks’

In addition to “Frozen,” which has become the standout holiday pic, benefiting as the most obvious choice for families, Disney saw a fantastic hold with “Saving Mr. Banks” as it grew 50% over last weekend with the same number of locations. The film saw the largest uptick of any of the wide releases this weekend, posting an estimated $14 million Friday-Sunday, with a Stateside cume of $37.8 million.

With its ‘A’ CinemaScore, “Banks” should see similar increased playability as “Mitty” if both continue to grow with families.

In limited release, the Weinstein Co. bowed Friday “August: Osage County” at five locations, averaging a solid $35,895 per screen. Despite the film’s polarizing humor, it received a good ‘A-‘ CinemaScore rating. “Yes, it’s a dark biting subject matter, but people are clearly responding to this movie,” said Erik Lomis, president of distribution for Weinstein.


Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Locations; Per-theater average; Cume*; Percentage change

  1. The Hobbit … Smaug (3): $29.9; 3,928; $7,599; $190.3; -5%
  2. Frozen (6): $28.8; 3,335; $8,649; $248.4; +47%
  3. Anchorman 2 (2): $20.2; 3,507; $5,746; $83.7; -25%
  4. American Hustle (3): $19.6; 2,507; $7,798; $60.0; +2%
  5. The Wolf of Wall Street (1): $18.5; 2,537; $7,296; $34.3; —
  6. Saving Mr. Banks (3): $14.0; 2,110; $6,645; $37.8; +50%
  7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1): $13.0; 2,909; $4,469; $25.6; —
  8. Hunger Games: Catching Fire (6): $10.2; 2,315; $4,406; $391.1; +16%
  9. 47 Ronin (1): $9.9; 2,689; $3,670; $20.6; —
  10. A Madea Christmas (3): $7.4; 1,788; $4,139; $43.7; -12%


Film (Weeks in release): 3-day gross*; Territories; Screens; Int’l cume*; Global cume*; Percentage change

  1. The Hobbit … Smaug (3): $98.3; 62; 15,800; $423.8; $614.1; -18%
  2. Frozen (5): $50.5; 43; n/a; $243.5; $491.9; +44%
  3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1): $27.2; 39; 4,775; $27.2; $52.8; —
  4. 47 Ronin (4): $13.8; 29; 2,070; $22.3; $42.9; +393%
  5. Walking With Dinosaurs (2): $12.3; 46; 8,042; $33.4; -11%

*in millions of $