FRIDAY 11:30 PM UPDATE: Remember that all these pre-Christmas movie openings will be helped tremendously by the holiday multiple gift from Santa. Some of the newcomers opened on Wednesday, with others Friday. Domestic box office looks like this tonight which definitely isn’t a full reflection of what will be pre-Christmas weekend moviegoing. So this not-great-start is looking like only $100M total moviegoing, which is -19% from last year. See this as a quick glimpse until my refined numbers and full analysis Saturday and Sunday:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) Week 2 [Runs 4,100] PG13
Friday $10.5M (-73%), Weekend $31.5M, Cume $145.2M
The problem with blockbusters is they have giant openings and then giant falls. But even with a -73% drop from a week ago, Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epic is still the big #1 domestic and international. Going into the weekend, its huge domestic haul was already $113.1M and its international take was just shy of $189M. That makes for a worldwide cume of about $303M. Yikes! The pic now opens in Russia and the Ukraine as it continues to blanket the globe with new and old JR Tolkien faithful.
2. Jack Reacher (Skydance/Paramount) NEW [Runs 3,352] PG13
Friday $5.7M, Weekend $17.5M
Tom Cruise is currently not sitting quite as pretty as he was midday based on matinee trends. Yes, he’s still #2 today and should stay there all weekend now that audiences bestowed an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore. That should help word of mouth, along with the expected holiday multiple. Still pic will debut less than the $20M which major stars like Cruise should gross to open movies. Frankly, Hollywood didn’t think this ammo actioner would make even this kind of money after tracking trouble. (There’s been snark from the film project’s get-go that Tom Thumb was miscast as Reacher, who’s a physically big guy in the novel.) But it only cost $60M, or so co-financiers Skydance and Paramount keep claiming. Remains to be seen if it’ll struggle to get to $100M total box office. If so then Oracle scion David Ellison may have to rethink steering movies towards Cruise even after Mission: Impossible 4 paid off.
3. This Is 40 (Universal) NEW [Runs 2,912] R
Friday $4.0M, Weekend $12.0M
Adult pictures don’t open big this time of year but then they go on to enjoy huge multiples. The studio wasn’t expecting the so-so reviews fgr This Is 40 but is expecting Judd Apatow fans to turn out over the weekend. Remains to be seen if tonight’s ‘B-‘ CinemaScore from audiences hurts word of mouth. Universal knew tonight could swing anywhere between $3M to $4.5M depending on how the R-rated dramedy fared on Friday Date Night. I don’t agree with rival studios calling this openign “soft” just because This Is 40 had identical tracking to Jack Reacher. (“I’m surprised it’s so far behind. And for a movie that Universal sent out Academy screeners in November, it garnered only 49% positive reviews,” one rival studio exec snarked to me tonight.) It’s a way different genre though equally cheap. But let’s see if it has a better holiday multiple.
4. Rise Of The Guardians (DW Animation/Par) Week 5 [Runs 3,031] PG
Friday $1.5M, Weekend $7.2M, Cume $79.8M
This movie keeps taking advantage of Hollywood shortsightedness in not skedding more December family pictures this season. Still, compared to other tentpole toons, this is still a disappointment.
5. Monsters Inc 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 1 [Runs 2,618] G
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $5.0M, Cume $6.5M
Opened Wednesday and Disney now pumping up the publicity volume in preparation for the Christmas wannasee. Re-teched 2001 toon whose lifetime domestic gross was $257M should make a fat multiple while it also drums up interest for 2013’s prequel.
6. The Guilt Trip (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [Runs 2,431] PG13
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $4.7M, Cume $6.7M
Also opened Wednesday and Hollywood did a double-take tonight. “It fell off the map,” one rival studio exec exclaimed to me. Co-financier David Ellison helped foot the minor $40M bill to pair up Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand in a double-lame genre of road trip and mother movie. Stop, before you crap out another.