3RD UPDATE, MONDAY, 3:15 PM: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies dropped some gold coins on its way to the bank today to deposit its actual results. The finale of Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy was off 1.7% from its Sunday five-day estimate of $90.6M, for a current reported cume of $89.1M. That figure still beats the first five days of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug ($86.1M).
The Warner Bros./New Line/MGM film wasn’t the only one off from its Sunday: Sony’s Annie came in about $440K under today with $15.86M in third, while Fox’s Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb was down $200K.
Essentially, yesterday wound up not being as robust as expected for distribs with it being the last Sunday before Christmas. Warner Bros. projected $18.2M yesterday for Five Armies, but filed $16.73M, while Sony estimated $4.9M but came in closer to $4.5M. Five Armies’ Saturday-to-Sunday decline of 21.7% isn’t too far from Smaug’s 26% opening slide between those two days. No Skin off Warner Bros.’ nose, or the competition for that matter — it’s all about the next two weeks for them.
Thanks to Five Armies, this weekend’s total of $134.67M per Rentrak surged 61% from last weekend, but it was down 6% from a year ago. Why? Essentially the comparative frame for a year ago was bolstered by the second weekend of Smaug ($31.5M), the Friday-Saturday-Sunday play of Anchorman 2‘s five-day ($26.2M), an amazing fifth weekend for Frozen, and the wide break of the star-studded awards contender American Hustle ($19.1M). Given all the headlines for 2014’s soft year, no one in the distribution or exhibition community believes there’s an exodus of moviegoers or that there’s a bigger problem with cinema-going in general that needs to be fixed. It’s simply an off year, down 5% with $9.85B as of Sunday versus the same point last year when we were at $10.37B.
Observed one exhibition president this weekend, “The disparity this year is between The Hobbit and the rest of the pack. Last year at this time, there was a flock of movies — and we are far and away from that.”
Here is the final top 20 with notables:
- Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (WB), $54.7M, 3,875 locations, $14,122 average, Total cume: $89.1M, Wk 1
- Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (Fox), $17.1M, 3,785 locations, $4,518 average, Total cume:$17.1M, Wk 1
- Annie (Sony), $15.86M, 3,116 locations, $5,090 average, Total cume:$15.86M, 1 week.
- Exodus: Gods And Kings, (Fox), $8.1M (-66%), 3,503 locations, $2,314 average, Total cume: $38.9M, Wk 2
- Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (LG), $7.9M (-38%), 3,174 locations (-557), $2,482 average, Total cume:$289,356,110, 5 weeks.
- Wild (SEA), $4.1M (+169%), 1,061 locations (+945), $3,877 average, Total cume: $7.17M, Wk 3
- Big Hero 6 Disney, $3.64M (-40%), 2,407 locations (-369), $1,513 average, Total cume: $190.5M, Wk 7
- Top Five (PAR), $3.59M (-48%), 1,307 locations (+328), $2,747 average, Total cume:$12.5M, Wk 2
- P.K., (UTV), $3.565M, 272 locations, $13,108 average, Total cume:$3.565M, Wk 1
- Penguins Of Madagascar (Fox/D’Works Ani), $3.5M (-52%), 2,717 locations (-595), $1,279 average, Total cume: $64.1M, Wk 4
- Interstellar, (PAR), $2.7M (-50%), 1,550 locations (-701), $1,743 average, Total cume:$171.5M, Wk 7
- Horrible Bosses 2 (WB), $2.2M (-52%), 1,902 locations (-600), $1,158 average, Total cume:$47.8M, Wk 4
- The Theory Of Everything (FOC), $1.6M (-35%), 1,011 locations (-209), $1,594 average, Total cume:$19.8M, Wk 7
- Foxcatcher (SPC), $939K (+159%), 308 locations (+229), $3,050 average, Total cume:$4.4M, Wk 6
- Birdman (SEA), $865K (-34%), 452 locations (-89), $1,914 average, Total cume:$22.2M, Wk 10
- The Imitation Game (TWC), $859K (+1%), 34 locations (+9), $25,253 average, Total cume:$3.2M, Wk 4
- Dumb And Dumber To, (Uni), $769K (-72%), 986 locations (-1,087), $780 average, Total cume:$83.7M, Wk 6
- Gone Girl, (Fox), $376K (-64%), 352 locations (-344), $1,069 average, Total cume:$165.2M, Wk 12.
- St. Vincent, (TWC), $225K (-68%), 404 locations (-608), $558 average, Total cume:$42.4M, Wk 11.
- Whiplash (SPC), $214K (-15%), 111 locations (-43), $1,928 average, Total cume: $5.1M, Wk 11.
- Nightcrawler (OPR) $149K (-75%), 153 locations (-645), $976 average, Total cume: $31.5M, Wk 8.
- Inherent Vice (WB) $145K (-56%), 5 locations, $29,055 average, Total cume: $598K Wk 2.
- Mr. Turner (SPC), $107K, 5 locations, $21,130 average, Total cume: $107K, Wk 1.
2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY,10:52 AM: Happy days are here again at the box office. Warner Bros. and industry analysts are both seeing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with a Wednesday-through-Sunday domestic cume of $90.6M and a FSS of $56.2M. Five Armies’ five-day haul beats last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which though a Friday bow, made $86.1M over five. However, Five Armies falls short of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘s five-day run of $100.2M.
Five Armies has all the ammunition it needs to conquer the holiday season: As previously reported, the three-quel received an A- overall Cinemascore, but it received an A with the under-25 demo (40% of the audience), and A- with over 25 and guys (both 60%). Hobbits and Orcs were a B+ for women, who accounted for 40%. 3D accounted for 49% of the gross with IMAX repping 15% or $13.6M over five days, and $7.7M over three. Premium large-format (PLF) screens rang up 8% of the total cume with $7.2M from 396 theaters. Cinemark’s XD format led the way among PLF with 20% of that B.O. figure.
Beamed Warner Bros. distribution EVP Jeff Goldstein about Five Armies’ prospects, “The calendar works in your favor when Christmas and New Year’s falls on a Thursday: Audiences over the next two weekends aren’t cumbered from any holiday obligations or distractions.”
Despite the Friday night family-pic showdown between The Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb and Annie, their gap widened over the weekend with Fox’s Ben Stiller film taking second with $17.3M per studio weekend estimates and Sony’s Broadway orphan pic belting third with a studio reported $16.3M.
Industry estimates see both titles a bit lower at $17.1M and $15.9M respectively. There’s a notion among some distrib insiders that both family titles might have stepped on each other’s toes this weekend, with Annie’s A- Cinemascore lifting it toward the higher end of expectations, and Night at the Museum coming in lower than its $20Ms expectations.
Sony is saying that a majority of their audience for Annie, which was co-produced with Village Roadshow, was 76% with a 70%/30% female-to-male demo. Fox reports 24% of Night’s crowd was under 17. Nonetheless, these are decent starts for family films. Their fates at the box office lie in the long haul, and history proves that there’s a 6x multiple-plus that can be gained for PG fare during this season, i.e., Warner Bros.’ Yogi Bear bowed during this frame in 2010 to $16.4M and accumulated $100.2M domestically. Among the young’uns who showed up for Night, expect them to pass the thumbs up along to their friends: The 18-24 crowd gave the comedy an A. Parents and kids on their index gave it four and a half stars, according to Fox, and the under-25 also graded it with As.
“We’re at a time of year when family films do between a six and a nine multiple,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson. “We have a (director) Shawn Levy film and we have the same faith in his film this time around. His films have had great multiples and play-ability; he’s released two previous (family) properties with us at this time of year — Night at the Museum, which had a 8.2 multiple, and Cheaper by the Dozen, which had a 9 multiple.”
Fox Searchlight’s Wild is expected to reap $4.1M thanks to its wide expansion past 1,000 engagements with a 173% surge and a third weekend cume of $7.2M.
“With our A- Cinemascore, the film is reaching a broad audience driven by females but including a large male contingent of moviegoers,” said Searchlight’s SVP of distribution Frank Rodriguez about Wild today.
Chris Rock‘s Top Five from Paramount pushed from 979 to 1,307 locales in its second frame for a studio and industry reported $3.57M, marking a 48% decline and a $12.5M cume. The film will eventually play by the end of the year at a 2,000+ count. Top Five is currently arm-wrestling Big Hero 6 for seventh place.
Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings dropped 67% in its second weekend with an industry-estimated 3-day of $7.89M (Fox says $8.07M). Just as fanboys are required to launch a comic-book film, faith-based audiences are essential when handling any Biblical film, New or Old Testament.
It was clear that Fox, in pairing with Ridley Scott, wanted to make a great sword-and-sandal epic like Gladiator, a genre that is the director’s specialty. Scott vied to keep the Moses story as real as possible, and did not want to make the same fantasy mistakes that Darren Aronofsky made with Noah, which alienated the Faith-based.
Faith Driven Consumer, a stat org that assesses Christian consumers’ spending habits, has specified that the Faith-based gravitate heavily toward Biblical films, especially when they have directors who are of the Christian faith themselves, i.e. Mel Gibson with Passion of the Christ and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey with their Bible miniseries and Son of God feature.
Scott told the New York Times in an interview last year that he was an atheist, and the Faith-based took note. Says one exhibition marketing analyst about Exodus’ performance to date, “I think Noah poisoned the well, and the Faith-based crowd, once they’re burned, they’re twice shy.”
Weinstein Co.’s The Imitation Game is following a B.O. path that’s quite similar to, and somewhat better than, that of TWC’s Oscar best picture winner The King’s Speech. Through four weekends, the film about World War II mathematician Alan Turing has grossed $3.2M in 34 theaters; $300K more than King’s Speech, which was in more theaters (43) at the same point in time in December 2010.
The top 10 films per industry estimates:
1). The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (WB), 3,875 theaters /$16.5M Fri./ $21.3M Sat. (+29%)/ $18.2M Sun. (-15%) / 3-day cume: $56.1M / Total cume: $90.6M/Wk 1 (Bowed Wednesday, includes Tuesday previews)
2). Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (FOX), 3,785 theaters /$5.6M Fri./ $6.49M Sat. (+16%)/ $5.1M Sun. (-21%) / 3-day cume: $17.1M /Wk 1
3). Annie (Sony), 3,116 theaters /$5.29M Fri./ $6M Sat. (+13%)/ $4.7M Sun. (-22%)/3-day cume: $15.9M /Wk 1
4). Exodus: Gods and Kings (FOX), 3,053 theaters (0) /$2.2M Fri./ $3.2M Sat. (+42%)/ $2.45M Sun. (-23%)/3-day cume: $7.89M (-67%)/ Total cume: $38.7M/Wk 1
5). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (LGF), 3,174 theaters (-557) /$2.2M Fri. /$3.06M Sat. (+39%)/ $2.3M Sun. (-25%)/3-day cume: $7.7M (-38%) / Total cume: $289.2M/Wk 5
6). Wild (FSL), 1,061 theaters (+945) / $1.1M Fri./ $1.6M Sat. (+39%)/ $1.3M Sun. (-21%)/3-day cume: $4.1M (+173%) / Total cume: $7.2M /Wk 3
7). Top Five (PAR), 1,307 theaters (+328) /$1M Fri. /$1.4M Sat. (+40%)/ $1.1M Sun. (-25%)/ 3-day cume: $3.57M (-48%)/ Total cume: $12.5M /Wk 2
7). Big Hero 6 (DIS), 2,407 theaters (-369) / $885K Fri. / $1.5M Sat. (+69%)/ $1.2M Sun. (-20%)/3-day cume: $3.56M (-42%)/ Total cume: $190.5M /Wk 7
9). The Penguins Of Madagascar (FOX), 2,717 theaters (-595)/ $870K Fri. / $1.4M Sat. (+61%)/ $1.1M Sun. (-22%)/ 3-day cume: $3.5M (-51%) / Total cume: $64.1M / Wk 4
10) P.K (UTV), 272 theaters/ $1M Fri./ $1.4M Sat. (+40%)/ $1M Sun. (-25%)/3-day cume: $3.4M /Wk 1
The Theory Of Everything (FOC), 1,011 theaters (-209) / $447K Fri./ $668K Sat. (-49%)/ $521K Sun. (-22%)/3-day cume: $1.56M (-37%) / Total cume: $19.8M / Wk 7
Foxcatcher (SPC), 308 theaters (+229) / $269K Fri./$388K Sat. (+37%)/ $330K Sun. (-15%)/ 3-day cume: $973K (+168%) / Total cume: $M/ Wk 6
Birdman (FSL), 452 theaters (-89) / $232K Fri. /$384 Sat. (+66%)/ $290K Sun. (-24%)/3-day cume: $891K (-31%)/ Total cume: $22.2M /Wk 10
The Imitation Game (TWC), 34 theaters (+9) / $222K Fri. /$364K Sat. (+64%)/ $309K Sun. (-15%)/ 3-day cume: $895K (+5%)/ Total cume: $3.2M/ Wk 4
Inherent Vice (WB), 5 theaters / $36K Fri. /$59 Sat. (+64%)/ $51M Sun. (-14%) 3-day cume: $147K (-55%)/ Total cume: $600K / Wk 2
Mr. Turner (SPC), 5 theaters / $28K Fri. / $44K Sat. (+56%)/ $35K Sun. (-20%)/3-day cume: $109K /Wk 1
UPDATE, SATURDAY, 7:30 AM: Warner Bros. is reporting this morning that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies made $16.575M Friday for a cume of $51M with $2.18M coming from IMAX alone (13% of Friday). IMAX looks to have a 16% of FSS and 3D shows are pulling in about 50% of the gross, which is higher than Smaug,but about the same as An Unexpected Journey. Per some early morning estimates, the weekend showdown for No. 2 between Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie looks like it’s wider. Fox is reporting Museum in second with $5.625M yesterday, a position the Ben Stiller comedy plans to hold throughout the weekend with $18.3M. Sony’s Annie posted $5.3M and is now eyeing a $16-$17M weekend.
Five Armies is playing strong everywhere: “We’re over-indexing in Canada, playing strong in the Pacific and even in small and medium towns too,” said Warner Bros. distribution EVP and general sales manager. Why did WB bow the Hobbit threequel on a Wednesday instead of a Friday? Previous Hobbits, like most mega-tentpoles over a FSS, are front-loaded, with their highest day being Friday and than sliding downward on Saturday and Sunday. The decision to bow Five Armies on a Wednesday boils down to “when Christmas falls. The Christmas holiday falling on a Thursday is better this year,” explains Goldstein. In 2013, Christmas fell on a Wednesday, while in 2012, the holiday fell on a Tuesday. This year, with Christmas and New Year’s on Thursday, it’s back-to-back four-day weekends.
Sony knew it had something special with Annie, that’s why they moved it from its Christmas day bow to this Friday. Said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution head, “By opening on the 19th,it gave us a chance to build word of mouth with kids being out of school. It was bold in that sense: We knew there were two pictures that had a bit of cache to their franchises, but we always felt that Annie was different and special with everyone.”
The Annie reboot, which cost a reported $65M, was further bolstered by two Golden Globe noms for actress Quvenzhane Wallis (actress, musical or comedy) and for Sia’s song “Opportunity” in the film. Also moving the marketing meter for Annie is its soundtrack which features singer/songwriter Sia and producer Greg Kurstin who gave the musical’s classic songs “Tomorrow” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” a modern makeover. Annie boasts 18M YouTube views, on par with Les Miserables two years ago. The film’s social media universe per RelishMIX is 60.5M across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter vs. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb‘s 52.2M. RelishMIX shows that Annie videos are reposting strongly. Annie squashed its negative critic reviews with an A- Cinemascore, meaning — audiences love it.
PREVIOUS, SATURDAY, 2:46 AM: Exhibitors and distributors breathed a sigh of relief from the B.O. holiday doldrums over the last two weekends, as Warner Bros./New Line-MGM’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies rallied the masses at the multiplex in its third day of release, ringing up $16.1M per industry estimates, a 62% spike from Thursday, and a domestic cume in its third day of $50.5M.
Friday also featured a duke-0ut between the frame’s frosh pair of family pics — Sony’s Annie and Fox’s threequel Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which respectively drew industry estimates of $6M and $5.9M. Fandango foresaw both titles neck-in-neck based on pre-sales and it could go down to the wire in terms of which takes second. While those single digits may not look stupendous on paper, matinees and holiday multiples will push these films to the max this season. The weekend prior to Christmas always has a golden lining thanks to school holiday vacations, and the frame has churned out some fantastic bows in the past, such as 2009’s Avatar ($77M) and even 2010’s Tron: Legacy ($44M). Overall, Friday’s top 10 titles totaled $37.5M, up 61% from a week ago.
After all The Interview hacking headaches this week, Sony is over the moon with its A- Cinemascore for Annie, which bodes well for the pic’s life. Critics have been throwing gum at the warbling orphan’s hair with a 28% Rotten Tomatoes score, but that’s just further proof that blockbuster Broadway musical adaptations don’t need the tweed set to sing high notes at the B.O. (2008’s Mamma Mia! was slammed by critics with 54% rotten, but got an A- Cinemascore and posted a domestic B.O. of $144.1M). The estimated Friday for Museum: Secret of the Tomb ranks below the $12.1M first Friday of its opening chapter, which bowed during the same December frame in 2006, but look at what Fox did with December 2011 kiddie threequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Both Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Chipwrecked earned B+ Cinemascores, and posted similar Fridays (Chipwrecked earned a bit more with $6.7M), however the latter legged out at $133.1M stateside.
By Sunday, Peter Jackson’s Five Armies is expected to amass $86.4M in U.S./Canada, a five-day bow that beats the director’s first Lord of the Rings, which collected $75.1M from Wed.-Sun in December 2001. Word of mouth is gonna be fine for Five Armies, the question is just high can it can go: Similar to last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (final domestic $258.4M) and 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring (domestic $315.5M), Five Armies earned an A- Cinemascore. 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($303M), LOTR: Two Towers ($342.6M) earned As, while LOTR: Return of the King ($377.8M) has the highest grade with A+.
Beamed one exhibitor relations exec, “This is the first family film we’ve had in the marketplace for sometime, and by family film I don’t mean a G or PG-rated movie, I mean a movie where every single person in the family — mom, dad, the kids and grandparents — go. Exodus just wasn’t that.” Based on pre-opening screenings, the Ridley Scott film, with its glorious 3D battles scenes and leading thesps Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, looked certain to dynamite the marketplace out of its slumber — until a sour, mostly faith-based, press weighed in. The Moses film dropped an estimated 74% in its second Friday, with $2.3M. Exodus’ eight-day estimated domestic B.O. of $33.1M is currently pacing 17% ahead of Scott’s 2005 Christian Crusades film Kingdom of Heaven (which bowed to $19.6M).
Social media has been key in harnessing The Hobbit fanbase with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter moving the needle significantly for Five Armies. According to media analyst RelishMIX, The Hobbit‘s YouTube has amassed an impressive 258M views over 24 months. Five Armies has twice the YouTube count with 140M views over Smaug‘s 71M and Unexpected Journey‘s 47M. Five Armies’ Facebook engagement stands at 34M, double that of Smaug‘s 17M. Twitter reach has nearly doubled in the last 12 months from 2.6M to 4.7M with hashtag activity spiking to 72k from the London Premiere on November 30.
Elsewhere at Friday’s B.O., most award contenders saw dips, largely due to the fact that they dropped screens. Hot titles like Birdman want to capitalize on another wide break around Golden Globe awards and Oscar noms. Wild saw a 141% boom with an estimated $1.15M thanks to a 945-theater surge in its overall engagement count of 1,061. Foxcatcher added 229 locales for a count of 308 and a Friday of $246K. The Bennett Miller movie is looking at a $1M weekend, up 149%. Mike Leigh’s awards contender Mr. Turner, which has earned high praise for actor Timothy Spall’s portrayal of 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner, bowed in NY and LA with $27K in five theaters. Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is pacing toward $300M stateside, and should close in on $290M by Sunday. After losing a number of large format screens to The Hobbit, Paramount’s Interstellar is expected to drop from sixth last weekend down to 10th by Sunday.
Below is the top 10 for the weekend of Dec. 19-21 per Friday night industry estimates:
1). The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (WB), 3,875 theaters /$16.1M Fri./ 3-day cume: $52M / Total cume: $86.4M/Wk 1 (Bowed Wednesday)
2). Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (FOX), 3,785 theaters /$5.9M Fri./ 3-day cume: $19.6M /Wk 1
3). Annie (Sony), 3,116 theaters /$6M Fri./ 3-day cume: $19.1M /Wk 1
4). Exodus: Gods and Kings (FOX), 3,053 theaters (0)/$2.3M Fri. (-74%)/ 3-day cume: $8M(-67%) / Total cume: $38.6M/Wk 2
5). The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (LGF), 3,174 theaters (-557) /$2.2M Fri. (-41%)/ 3-day cume: $7.9M (-38%) / Total cume: $289.4M/Wk 5
6). Wild (FSL), 1061 theaters (+945) / $1.15M Fri. (+141%) / 3-day cume: $4M (+167%) / Total cume: $7M /Wk 3
7). The Penguins Of Madagascar (FOX), 2,717 theaters (-595)/ $944K Fri. (-37%)/ 3-day cume: $3.8M (-47%) / Total cume: $M / Wk 4
8). Big Hero 6 (DIS), 2,407 theaters (-369) / $929K Fri. (-29%) / 3-day cume: $3.5M (-41%)/ Total cume: $190.5M /Wk 7
9). Top Five (PAR), 1,307 theaters (+328) /$931K Fri. (-63%)/ 3-day cume: $2.9M (-57%)/ Total cume: $11.9M /Wk 2
10). Interstellar (PAR), 1,550 theaters (-701) / $720K Fri. (-52%) / 3-day cume: $2.7M (-51%) / Total cume: $171.6M / Wk 7
11) P.K (UTV), 272 theaters/ $800K Fri./ 3-day cume: $2.3M /Wk 1
The Theory Of Everything (FOC), 1,011 theaters (-209) / $432K Fri. (-42%)/ 3-day cume: $1.5M (-35%) / Total cume: $19.8M / Wk 7
Foxcatcher (SPC), 308 theaters (+229) / $283K Fri./ 3-day cume: $1M (+149%) / Total cume: $4.5M/ Wk 6
Birdman (FSL), 452 theaters (-89) / $246K Fri. (-27%) /3-day cume: $932K (-29%)/ Total cume: $22.3M /Wk 10
The Imitation Game (TWC), 34 theaters (+9) / $198K Fri. (-20%)/ 3-day cume: $749K (-12%)/ Total cume: $3M/ Wk 4
Nightcrawler (OPRD), 153 theaters (-645) / $35K Fri. (-80%)/ 3-day cume: $126K (-79%) /Total cume: $31.5M/ Wk 8
Inherent Vice (WB), 5 theaters / $33K Fri. (-75%)/ 3-day cume: $118K (-64%)/ Total cume: $570K / Wk 2
Mr. Turner (SPC), 5 theaters/$27K Fri./ $38K Sat. (25%) / $27K Sun.( -20%)/Scrn Avg: $17,550/3-day cume: $88K/Wk. 1