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Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony’s Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it)

Weekend B.O. Dec. 19-21 (Sony's Grateful for Small Blessings, while Paramount Blew it)

With all the
recent brouhaha regarding Sony’s “The Interview,” it was easy to
forget that the studio had a major film opening this weekend. The film, of
course, is their “reboot” of the musical “Annie” with Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane
Wallis. Its $16.3  million
opening places it in third place, giving the studio some small comfort this
week. It could use any good news that it can get.

Granted, that
may seem like a not-so-impressive opening for the reported $65 million film, but,
considering it was going up against the (Thank God) third and final installment
of the interminable “Hobbit” trilogy, “The Battle of the Five Armies,” and the (Thank God)
third and final sequel to the “Night at the Museum” films, “Annie” did pretty well
for itself.

And also, the
fact that, despite the lousy reviews it’s gotten, it’s the only new film out this season that is
aimed specifically at children, the film could very well do steady
business, staying in the top ten for weeks.

Chris Rock’s
“Top Five,” however, took a big hit, dropping some 48% from last week, meaning the film
is running out of gas fast. Perhaps Paramount got carried away with all the
praise the film had been getting since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and
rushed the film out too soon, releasing it during holiday film season, where it
would be passed over. It might have been better if they had held up the release until next spring, with a wide opening on 1500-1700 screens.

One major reason
for the fast release was the mistaken belief by the studio, from all the hype the film was getting, that the film could be
a real Oscar contender, which, of course, it isn’t, and never was, and I’ll bet that
Rock himself never thought it was. As some box office analyst said today, “Paramount blew this one BIG time!”

The Hobbit,
not surprisingly, was No. 1, raking in some $56 million, with a $90 million take since the film opened on Wednesday, followed by “Night at the Museum: Secret
of the Tomb,” which came in second place with $17.3 million.

As for last
week’s No. 1, “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” it took a big drop of 66.6%, with
just $8 million. Whether it was the bad word-of-mouth, the boycott, both or
whatever, it’s toast.

The
unexpected surprise (though, it actually isn’t)
is the top ten finish for the Bollywood fantasy film, “PK,” with an impressive $3.5 million on just 272 screens. The film is yet
another example of a Bollywood film released in the U.S. that gets no notice at
all by the media or general public at large, but does excellent b.o. by by-passing
the usual expected marketing strategies to attract a large crossover audience,
and concentrating instead on marketing the film to a clearly defined, specific audience
outside the usual channels and media outlets.

If you’re
curious what “PK” looks like, you can check out the trailer below which has gotten over 9 million hits in YouTube already:

1) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies  WB  $56,220,000  Total: $90,627,000 
2) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb  Fox  $17,300,000 
3) Annie Sony  $16,300,000 
4) Exodus: Gods and Kings  Fox  $8,065,000  Total: $38,902,000 
5) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1  LGF  $7,750,000  Total: $289,227,000 
6) Wild FoxS  $4,150,000 Total: $7,211,000 
7) Top Five  Par.  $3,570,000  Total: $12,456,000 
8) Big Hero 6  BV  $3,563,000  Total: $190,441,000 
9) Penguins of Madagascar  Fox  $3,525,000  Total: $64,172,000 
10) P.K.  UTV  $3,500,000 
11) Interstellar  Par.  $2,600,000  Total: $171,433,000 
12) Horrible Bosses 2  WB  $2,175,000  Total: $47,750,000

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