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‘The Hobbit’ Tops Our Box Office Ranking of 19 Holiday Movies

'The Hobbit' Tops Our Box Office Ranking of 19 Holiday Movies

Oh what a difference a few days make!

As predicted, rankings have changed as “Into the Woods” overtook “Unbroken” for the second spot behind the quite strong “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” The dominant film for first quarter 2015 when it goes wide will be Clint Eastwood’s staggeringly popular “American Sniper,” now still in only four theaters. Bradley Cooper is having a good holiday, as he draws raves from his Broadway turn in “The Elephant Man.”

The days after Christmas — when folks on vacation are ready to get out of the house and see the buzzed-about movies, and word of mouth never travels faster than over the holidays– tend to be an important barometer of how new releases are doing. You often get a real sense of how the public is reacting.

There’s a lot to look at. To give the best overview of the top films (19 in all), we’ll look at each briefly. We rank the films in order for their Monday and Tuesday grosses (with their weekend rank listed second for comparison), give the per cent change Monday from Sunday and then Tuesday from Monday, and then the total gross through Tuesday,

1. (1) The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Warner Bros.)  M-Tu gross: $7.5 &8.0 million/M-Tu change: -31%,-+6%/Total: $183.5 million
The two-day gross is over $3 million higher than “Smaug” the same days last year. The total is now $18 million behind it, with the earlier film having had the benefit of an extra weekend (it opened earlier in the month). This looks in the range where it could equal the second “Hobbit”s domestic total, but unlike the “Lord of the Rings” won’t come close to outpacing the rest of the series.

2. (2) Into the Woods (Buena Vista) – M-Tu gross: $6.1 & 6.5 million/Mo-Tu change: -26%,+7%/Total: $58.7 million
Both this and “Unbroken” opened Thursday, with the latter doing better the first three days, but “Woods” is ahead since and now overall. The holiday weekdays boost movies with younger audience appeal, but the musical also led on Sunday. Once again, Cinemascore shows itself an uneven gauge — this had a mediocre B, while “Unbroken” had a far more promising A-. This looks headed to a $125 million+ gross.  Also note this is on nearly 700 fewer screens than “Unbroken,” making its total even more impressive.

3. (3) Unbroken (Universal) – M-Tu gross:  $5.2 & 5.4 million/Mo-Tu change: -31%,+5%/Total: $56.6 million
Irrespective of the horse race with “Woods,” this remains a very strong gross, also looking to head to $125 million or more. By comparison, both “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “American Hustle” last year averaged under $4 million on their post-Christmas Monday and Tuesday..

4. (4) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (20th Century Fox) – M-Tu gross : $4.5 & 5.3 million/M-Tu change-18, +19%/Total: $64.5 million
As a family appeal film, this should be doing well during this week. It did have the biggest drop among the prime younger audience entries. It also still lags far behind the post-Christmas weekdays of the first “Museum” in 2006 (its opening week, though, while this one is in its second), which averaged around $12 million per day. This will be lucky to reach $100 million, below its production cost, so it will need significant international response to make its money back.

5. (5) Annie (Sony) – M-Tu gross: $3.8 & 4.4 million/M-Tu change: -14%, +15%/Total: $54.0 million
This is holding its own over the holidays, but also will fall short of $100 million, with foreign likely to be less. With a $65 million budget, this will struggle to break even.

6. (6) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lionsgate) – M-Tu gross: $2.2 & 2.4million/M-Tu change:-22, +8%/Total: $311.4million
Last year “Catching Fire” placed eighth for these days. It is going to be a very close race between this and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which currently leads 2014 releases at $333 million, $22 million ahead of “Mockingjay” thus far. “Catching Fire” took in an additional $31 million after Dec. 29 on its way to $424 million.

7. (8) The Imitation Game (Weinstein) – M-Tu gross:  $1.6 & 1.6 million/M-Tu change: -28, +5%/Total: $17.8 million
This is only on 747 screens — the films above are all on 2,400 or more. “Philomena” last year had about the same number of theaters and grossed $760,000 for the two days. “The King’s Speech” in 2010, which “Imitation” as it expands was besting, did $3.3 million its post-Christmas Monday/Tuesday though in 700 screens, so this is doing as well, but not performing at a higher pace as it has been in recent weeks. This still looks like it has a head of steam going in the January parade of awards and nominations and further expansion ahead.

8. (7)The Gambler (Paramount) – M-Tu gross: $1.5 & 1.6 million/M-Tu change: -34, +6%/Total: $17.3 million
A holiday misfire, this is dropping faster than most new films after its mediocre initial showing. Expect it to struggle to reach at best $35 million.

9. (11) Big Hero 6 (Buena Vista) – M-Tu gross: $1.4 & 1.7 million/M-Tu change: -5, +19%/Total: $203.2 million
 Matinees gave a huge boost for this Disney animated film, now doing 40% better than its biggest competition (“The Penguins of Madagascar”) despite having played three weeks longer. Of note: “Hero” jumped to seventh place for Tuesday.

10 (9). Exodus: Gods and Kings (20th Century Fox) – M-Tu gross: $1.1 million & 1.2 million/M-Tu change: -42, +14%/Total: $54.7 million
Any hopes for a holiday rebound for Ridley Scott’s $140 million epic have withered away. International doesn’t look like it will rescue this dud.

11. (10) Wild (Fox Searchlight) – M-Tu gross: $1.1 + 1.1million/M-Tu change: -29, +4%/Total: $18.5 million
only 1,285 screens, meaning that this is still quite strong even if
“The Imitation Game” is winning the head-to-head battle among expanding
Oscar contenders. With more life ahead with more awards action, look for
this to far more than double this total ahead.

12. (12) The Penguins of Madagascar (20th Century Fox) – M-Tu change: $1.0 & 1.2 million/M-Tu gross: -6, +25%/Total: $73.1 million
 A decent matinee boost, but it is clear that this fourth animated film in the series, despite holiday play time, will take in at best half of the least of the previous three ($180 million). International may get this to break even, but 2014 studio leader Fox has been struggling at the end of the year.

13. (14) Interstellar (Paramount) – M-Tu gross: $.7 & .7 million/M-Tu change: -18 + 5%/Total:$178.7 million
Paramount managed to hold on to 1,253 theaters, as Christopher Nolan’s film still has some life left. This might still get to $190 million (and over $750 million worldwide, disappointing only compared to sky-high expectations.

14. (15) Big Eyes (Weinstein) – M-Tu gross: $.6 +.6  million/M-Tu change: –34, +8%/Total: $5.6 million
The other Christmas Day misfire, its relatively large drop Monday suggests a rebound is not in the offing.

15. (13) Top Five (Paramount) – M-Tu gross: $.6 +.6 million/M-Tu change: -35, +1%/Total: $20.3 million
On 1,426 screens now (likely its widest), Chris Rock’s comedy/drama cost Paramount $15 million as an acquisition, so with marketing costs this isn’t going to be quite the breakout they had hoped for.

16. (17) P.K. (UTV) –M-Tu gross: $.3 + .2 million/M-Tu change: -51, +36%/Total: $8.4 million
Already in its first two weeks the biggest Bollywood success in the international market including the U.S., this is headed to a $10 million+ domestic take and the title of top subtitled performer of 2014.

17. (16) The Interview (Sony) – M-Tu gross: $.3 + .2 million/M-Tu change: -40, -13%%/Total: $3.3 million
Not a one-day wonder, but also dropping quickly. Sony reported various home viewing sites had brought in $15 million through Saturday.

22. American Sniper (Warner Bros.) – M-Tu gross: $166,000 & 164,000/M-Tu change: -24, -1%/Total: $1,204,000
That’s right – in only six days, “Sniper” has grossed over $1.2 million in only four theaters. The full initial week (through Wednesday) will be over $1.3 million, with a per screen average of $325,000+. By comparison, the year’s previous best limited opener, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” took in $1,138,000 in also four theaters. This has become the best multiple-theater non-animated platform opener of all time.

23.  Selma (Paramount) – M-Tu gross:$108,000 & 108,000/M-Tu change: -33, 0%/Total: $1,100,000
In 19 theaters, so this pales by comparison to “Sniper,” but otherwise the it continues to be a decent showing. This will however need its expected Oscar nomination haul to thrive when it begins its wider release on Jan. 9.

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