OK, last weekend we did not write a box-office report and we apologize about that for the three people that care. The highlights were thus: Ridley Scott’s epic bible movie “Exodus: Gods & Kings” deeply underwhelmed audiences. Budgeted around $140 million, the movie could not crack $25 million in its opening weekend. Factor in promotion and advertising (another $50 million conservatively), and theater splits, and 20th Century Fox pretty much has a turd on its hands. Perhaps that whitewashing backlash actually worked. Or maybe it’s because the movie is genuinely terrible and most critics seemed to agree (here’s our review). Paramount opened Chris Rock’s “Top Five” wide-ish (less than 1,000), but it still crashed the top five box-office party, landing at number four with almost $7 million in its opening weekend (our review). Those are solid numbers. In limited release, Warner Bros.’ “Inherent Vice” easily won the specialty market, grossing $328,184 from five theaters for a $65,637 per screen average. Those numbers were nowhere near Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” (which holds the record for the 2nd highest limited release opening ever after “The Grand Budapest Hotel“), but are still terrific grosses and the fourth highest limited release opening of 2014.
Onto this weekend. Warner Bros. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” has suffered from middling reviews, but that hasn’t stopped the conclusion of ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy, which is off to a fine start. It already grossed $120 million last weekend overseas, and this weekend it added a domestic haul of $90 million from its Wednesday opening until Sunday. Worldwide the movie has already grossed $355 million in two weeks, which is an outstanding figure, but one wonders if it can reach the $1 billion mark of the first film, or even the $950 million take of ‘Smaug,’ given how much domestic numbers are sagging these days.
Playing at 3,785 locations, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” opened to a disappointing $17 million. That’s a huge drop from previous installments. Part one opened up to $30 million in 2006 and ‘Battle Of the Smithsonian’ hit just shy of $55 million. The film could still take off overseas, but at home, this series looks a little dead in the water. The upside is family movies like this tend to play well during the holidays and stick around in theaters for several weeks, so maybe it has some long-tail strength in it, but as an opening this is certainly an underperformer. Sony might be having a hell of a time in most areas, but all things considered, “Annie” at the number four slot with $16 million isn’t bad. The movie was on 3100 screens, but given that it’s not a sequel or a huge brand, these are decent numbers for the remake, which could also stick around in theaters long after the holidays. Back to Fox’s bible movie: ‘Exodus’ plummeted a steep 66.6% drop, easily the biggest drop of films in wide release this weekend. $38 million total after two weeks for a big expensive epic…there’s going to be little reprieve for this one (and international numbers aren’t exactly lighting up either).
Elsewhere in the box-office top 10, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1” is nearing the $300 million mark domestically. In five weeks of release the movie has already hit $639 million worldwide. “Interstellar” is at $635 million worldwide after seven weeks of release, plus Christopher Nolan’s film has already dropped out of the domestic top 10 and definitely will not crack the $200 million mark at home (the movie currently sits at $171 million in North America). And compare that to “Big Hero 6.” Disney’s animated movie made a lot of noise for stealing the opening weekend from “Interstellar” in the beginning of November, and it’s grossed $190 million at home with $200 million in sight. But so far it hasn’t connected overseas and its worldwide total is only $272 million. That said, it hasn’t opened in many primary markets like China, the U.K., Japan, France, and most of Europe, so perhaps a big boost is waiting in the wings. After four weeks of release, “Penguins of Madagascar” has grossed $64 million domestically. That’s well below “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” which was almost twice that figure in its fourth week of release in 2012.
Making a big splash in the top 10 this weekend was Fox Searchlight‘s “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon. The indie expanded into just over 1,000 theaters, jumped 171% from last weekend, grossed $4.1 million, and landed at the number six position. That Golden Globe nomination for Witherspoon didn’t hurt. In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics‘ “Mr. Turner” had a strong $21.8 per screen average from five theaters, and the animated “Song of the Sea” scored $18K from one screen. Still in only five theaters, “Inherent Vice” actually dropped 55.5% in its second week of limited release, which perhaps doesn’t bode insanely well for its wide release on January 9, but time will tell.
1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — $56,220,000 ($90,627,000)
2. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — $17,300,000
3. Annie — $16,300,000
4. Exodus: Gods and Kings — $8,065,000 ($38,902,000)
5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 — $7,750,000 ($289,227,000)
6. Wild — $4,150,000 ( $7,211,000)
7. Top Five — $3,570,000 ($12,456,000)
8. Big Hero 6 — $3,563,000 ($190,441,000)
9. 3 Penguins of Madagascar — $3,525,000 ($64,172,000)
10. P.K. — $3,500,000