‘The Hobbit’ Holds off ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Les Misérables’ in Close Race for #1

on December 31, 2012 by Daniel Garris

Tuesday, Jan. 1 Update:

Selected Monday Estimates
The Hobbit -- $6,950,000 / -29%
Django Unchained -- $5,168,000 / -43%
Parental Guidance -- $4,700,000 / +13%

Monday, Dec. 31 Update:

Please note that grosses for films from FilmDistrict, Paramount and Sony are still estimates.  Grosses for films from Warner Bros. are revised estimates.  Actual grosses for such films are expected to be reported on Wednesday, January 2.

Warner's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grossed an estimated $31.96 million over the weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The Peter Jackson directed 3D fantasy film was able to hold off new releases Django Unchained and Les Misérables in a close three-way race this weekend. With the aid of the holiday season and very good word of mouth, The Hobbit fell a slim 13 percent from last weekend. In comparison, 2007's I Am Legend fell 18 percent in its third weekend to gross $27.41 million, while 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring fell 18 percent in its second weekend to gross $38.70 million (both comparisons occurred in years when Christmas fell on a Tuesday). The Hobbit has grossed $221.74 million through 17 days of domestic release. That places the film 14 percent ahead of the $194.49 million 17-day take of I Am Legend and 9 percent behind the $243.59 million 17-day gross of 2002's The Two Towers.

On the international front The Hobbit grossed $106.5 million from 62 foreign territories this weekend. The film has now taken in $464.0 million internationally and $685.7 million worldwide. The Hobbit debuted with $18.6 million in Australia and registered third weekend grosses of $16.7 million in Germany, $10.9 million in the United Kingdom and $8.6 million in France.

Django Unchained placed in a close second with $30.12 million. The Quentin Tarantino directed western from The Weinstein Company gained momentum on Friday and Saturday on the heels of an already solid midweek start. After increasing 37 percent to gross $9.70 million on Friday, the film increased 17 percent to gross $11.36 million on Saturday. The film's three-day to Friday ratio of 3.11 to 1 is a good sign going forward. Strong early word of mouth (the film earned an A- rating on CinemaScore) and the film's Christmas Day start (as good as it was) being a bit deflated given its themes both helped out Django Unchained over the weekend. Django Unchained has grossed $63.44 million in six days. That is 83 percent stronger than the $34.74 million six-day start of 2001's Ali and 25 percent stronger than the $50.57 million six-day August 2009 launch of Tarantino's last film, Inglourious Basterds.

Les Misérables finished in third with $27.28 million. Universal's highly anticipated musical proved to be quite front-loaded towards its strong Christmas Day and Boxing Day performances during its first six days of release, but nonetheless has grossed an impressive $66.72 million to date domestically. That places Les Misérables 104 percent ahead of the $32.68 million grossed by 2006's Dreamgirls in its first six days of semi-wide release and 92 percent ahead of the six-day start of Ali. With the initial rush-out for the film out of the way, Les Misérables will hope to stabilize going forward with the aid of strong word of mouth (the film earned a very encouraging A rating on CinemaScore) and continued awards season buzz. The audience breakdown for Les Misérables skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (67 percent).

Les Misérables was very strong internationally this weekend, where it grossed $38.6 million from just 8 foreign territories. That places the film's international total at $49.0 million and early worldwide haul at $115.8 million. Key international takes this weekend included a $20.2 million six-day haul in Korea and a $8.4 million five-day haul in Australia.

Fox's Parental Guidance debuted in fourth place with $14.55 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler has grossed a stronger than expected $29.34 million through six days of release. Given the film's daily holding patterns thus far, it appears to be skewing somewhere in the middle of a film aimed at older adults and a film aimed at family audiences. Parental Guidance is currently running 75 percent stronger than the $16.80 million six-day start of 2007's The Water Horse. With a lack of new family options during the month of January, Parental Guidance will have a good chance of holding up well going forward. The film's A- rating on CinemaScore is also an encouraging sign.
Internationally, Parental Guidance grossed $6.9 million from 7 foreign territories this weekend. Key grosses included $2.8 million in Australia, $2.1 million in the United Kingdom and $1.4 million in Mexico.

In other box office news, Sony's Skyfall reached the $1 billion worldwide milestone this weekend. Respective international and domestic total grosses for the blockbuster James Bond film stand at $710.6 million and $289.6 million.

Tags: Skyfall, Parental Guidance, Les Miserables, Django Unchained, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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