The Hobbit sorta loses its battle against its five prior armies, the sun sorta came out today for Annie, sorta not many people wanted to spend one last Night At The Museum… it’s a weekend of qualifiers is what I’m getting at, and Other Box Office News.
… … … … …hm? Yes? … …oh, shit, Box Office Report! Totally almost forgot! Sorry about that, truly. Just been super, super busy! Films to watch, radio shows to do, essays to write, articles to write. Just the most full plate! And I have absolutely spent all of my free time committing totally to that full plate! Absolutely! Totally didn’t end up spending most of the time that I should have spent working re-watching certain segments of The Legend of Korra finale and browsing the internet for fan drawings and such to help placate both the new empty hole in my heart and the little skips of joy it performed over the ending. Nope. Not at all. (*furiously closes browser tabs hoping you don’t notice*)
Anyways, this was the last weekend before Christmas and that meant a whole bunch of new releases tripping over themselves to appear as The Family Film of the Holiday Season or something like that. It also, however, meant counter-programming against The Hobbit for the first time. After Desolation of Smaug dropped $10 million opening weekend compared to An Unexpected Journey – and closed with $50 million less overall – other studios smelt blood in the water and felt that they could successfully programme against Peter Jackson’s immaculate advert for New Zealand’s finest green screens. Battle of the Five Armies, though, was having none of that sh*t. Not only did it take $56 million over the weekend, its Wednesday opening added another $34 million to the total, bringing us an opening of $90 million. Now, technically, that’s the lowest weekend opening for any Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings-related movie ever – with the exception of Fellowship all those years ago – but…
…that’s still more than the rest of the Top 6 put together. So, yeah, I think it’s safe to say that The Hobbit steamrolled the other new releases. Those ended up being Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, an incredibly meh sequel that quite literally nobody was ever asking for, and Annie, an incredibly horrendous remake that nobody was asking for and failed to do anything with its updated conceit. Technically, Night at the Meh-seum was the winner of the two, as it came in second place and made slightly more money than Annie. But, let’s face it, Annie was only $1 million behind, opened on less screens, had a higher per-screen average than NATM, and is probably going to confiscate a fair amount of Into the Woods’ money next week. The real losers, though, are the film-going audiences, because neither of these films are any good.
In limited release news, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner – which everybody else adores but did absolutely nothing for me because I am an uncultured cretin who ships cartoon characters and freaks out when everything becomes glorious canon – finally made its way to American shores to sneak in under the deadline for awards consideration (that it won’t get because Mike Leigh never gets noticed in America). From 5 screens, it managed a very respectable $109,000 for a per-screen average of $21,800. Meanwhile, Song of the Sea, a traditionally animated fantasy OH MY GOD I WANT TO SEE THIS IMMEDIATELY, was dropped onto 2 screens with pretty much zero fanfare and made a very respectable considering the circumstances $21,920. The Nut Job, for comparison, was dumped onto 3,427 screens and opened to $19,423,000 because this world f*cking sucks.
Let’s go there and back again with the Full List.
Box Office Results: Friday 19th December 2014 – Sunday 21st December 2014
1] The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
$56,220,000 / $90,627,000 / NEW
I was on the latest edition of the Failed Critics Podcast where we, eventually, talked about this film! You can get most of my thoughts over there! I’m not hard to miss but, if you’re having trouble, I’m the one that sounds like a drunken fratboy at a conference panel. Yeah, I don’t feel like I did good on that episode.
2] Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
$17,300,000 / NEW
So this one is weird. It tries to be this big send off for the series as a whole – implying that Night at the Museum is THE series that captured and defined a generation, but sure whatever – but nobody except Dan Stevens as Lancelot seems particularly happy to be here, and the film itself is just going through the motions for large swathes of its runtime. So the final 15 minutes, which aim to be this big backslapping sentimental goodbye, ring hollow and only achieve poignancy when we share our last scenes with a very obviously tired Robin Williams because… well, you know. It just doesn’t give any decent reason to exist, except to further the giant man crush I have on Dan Stevens; his eyes just pierce straight into my heart!
$16,300,000 / NEW
OK, can we officially call a ban on musicals that are embarrassed to be musicals? Annie is a film that spends pretty much every frame of its existence openly apologising to its audience for being a musical. It even has characters in the film call out how lame singing and dancing is after a big musical number. What is this 21st Century cynical bullsh*t? It doesn’t make the film cooler or more appealing, it just insults your audience and exposes your cast and crew as completely disinterested which, last I checked, is a death knell for a musical. Either embrace the fact that you’re a musical or don’t f*cking bother. Musicals are fun! More films should be like musicals!
Yeah, I really didn’t like this one.
4] Exodus: Gods and Kings
$8,065,000 / $38,902,000
Guess everybody found their DVDs of The Prince of Egypt laying around their house after all and watched them instead. Yay! Good choice, people!
$7,750,000 / $289,227,000
The Mockingjay, Part 1 soundtrack is really bloody good, just so you all know. It’s been backing most of my writing sessions this past week and it makes a very good accompaniment to having to metaphorically vomit 3,000 words onto virtual paper about film topics or essay concepts you don’t fully understand before deadline approaches. Pick it up if you get the chance.
$4,150,000 / $7,211,000
I hear this is really good, so I am going to refrain from commenting until I see it in the middle of January. Glad to see that Reese Witherspoon has managed to escape that black hole of suck she got stuck in for most of the late 00s, though! Four Christmases came on TV the other night and, my word, it was dreadful. Just awful.
7] Top Five
$3,570,000 / $12,456,000
Oh. Well. Shit. Dammit, America, you couldn’t have tried turning this into a hit?!
$3,565,258 / NEW
That’s from 272 theatres, by the by. Bollywood may finally be coming a thing in America. Good for Bollywood! Good for it! I should really try more. I saw Bang Bang! for a Cineworld Unlimited screening back in October and I was alternately entertained, amused, baffled, and assaulted with a thumping headache. I’d like to try other Bollywood films and see if that’s an anomaly or the general reaction I’ll end up having.
9] Big Hero 6
$3,563,000 / $190,441,000
Well, it’s been a good run, Big Hero 6. You didn’t make Frozen money, but to expect anything to make Frozen money is to have unreasonably high standards. You did really well, the public loved you, and you may even be fondly remembered. Now, if you could just HURRY THE FUCK UP AND RELEASE OVER HERE ALREADY BECAUSE FORCING ME TO WAIT THREE MONTHS IS DICKWEED BEHAVIOUR I’d much appreciate it.
$3,525,000 / $64,172,000
This is officially DreamWorks Animation’s lowest grossing CG film of all-time domestically. I doubt that even a superhuman overseas showing – the film has cracked 11 markets so far and most of those are the ones that prior Madagascar films have performed well in – is going to drag this one anywhere close to the land of profitability. I am now worried, I imagine that studio executives are sweating spinal fluid. This is not good.
Dropped Out: Interstellar, Horrible Bosses 2, Dumb and Dumber To, The Theory of Everything
Callie Petch would dial the numbers just to hear your breath.