Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies took in an estimated $16.58 million on Friday to lead the daily box office for a third consecutive day. The third and final chapter of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy increased a strong 66.5 percent over Thursday. Friday's daily hold was a good sign for the film after the sharper than anticipated percentage decline it experienced on Thursday. In comparison, 2002's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers increased 39 percent on its first Friday to gross $19.22 million.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has grossed $50.98 million in three days, which places it 14 percent behind the $59.26 million three-day start of The Two Towers. BOXOFFICE currently projects $54.0 million over the weekend for The Battle of the Five Armies and a five-day start of $88.41 million. That would be in the same neighborhood as the $86.14 million five-day start of last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (which opened on a Friday).
IMAX grosses were responsible for $2.18 million of the film's overall gross on Friday. Thus far The Battle of the Five Armies has grossed $8.08 million from IMAX locations. That represents 15.8 percent of the film's overall domestic gross. The Battle of the Five Armies received an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore.
It was a close race for second place on Friday, with Fox's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb outpacing Sony's Annie with an estimated opening day performance of $5.625 million. The two films were separated by just $325,000 on Friday and are likely to remain fairly close to one another throughout the rest of the weekend (and perhaps throughout the rest of the holiday season as well). Secret of the Tomb opened 16 percent below the $6.71 million opening day take of 2011's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. BOXOFFICE currently projects a $19.2 million debut for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which would be below expectations. The film received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.
Annie claimed third place with an estimated $5.3 million. The musical remake starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz opened towards the higher end of expectations on Friday. That is welcome news for Sony, especially after the events of the past week that led to the cancellation of the studio's release of The Interview. Annie opened 21 percent below the opening day take of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. BOXOFFICE is projecting a $17.5 million debut for Annie. The film received an promising A- rating on CinemaScore.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 inched ahead of Exodus: Gods and Kings to take fourth place on Friday with an estimated $2.28 million. The third installment of Lionsgate's blockbuster franchise was down a solid 39 percent from last Friday. Mockingjay - Part 1 has grossed $283.76 million in 29 days, which leaves it $16.24 million away from becoming the second release of 2014 to reach the $300 million domestic milestone. BOXOFFICE currently estimates a $7.8 million take for Mockingjay - Part 1 this weekend.
Fox's Exodus: Gods and Kings landed in fifth with an estimated $2.275 million. The pricey Ridley Scott directed biblical epic was down a very sharp 74 percent from last Friday's opening day take. Poor reviews, mixed word of mouth and direct competition from The Battle of the Five Armies are all clearly taking a toll on the film. Exodus has grossed an underwhelming $33.11 million through eight days. BOXOFFICE projects $7.7 million for Exodus: Gods and Kings this weekend, which would represent a 68 percent slide.
On its first day of wide release, Fox Searchlight's Wild took in an estimated $1.175 million from 1,061 locations. The critically acclaimed drama starring Reese Witherspoon has grossed $4.24 million in 17 days. BOXOFFICE is projecting $3.75 million for Wild this weekend.