The last weekend of the year saw five new releases fighting for the final top spot, only to be undone by a raucous band of midgets and a magical snowman. It’s also as good as confirmed 2013’s position as the biggest box-office year of all time. Congrats.
Thanks to a jolly old Christmas period, where box-office takings were up 10% on last year, 2013’s collective domestic gross is just $1.6 million down on 2012’s $10,837 million record. With a few days to go before we all drunkenly trawl through Auld Lang Syne, the record will doubtlessly be broken and we may just see grosses pip the $11 billion mark for the first time ever.
Reigning supreme for the 3rd week in a row atop the Lonely Mountain broods THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. The Middle-earthian sequel, while still continually underperforming in regards to its predecessor, dropped just 5.3% with its $29.9 million dollar takings. In 3 weeks it’s hoarded $190.3 million (7% down on AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY this time last year) and should comfortably break the $250 million mark before it retires to the shire.
Shifting back into 2nd in its 6th week, defying all expectations and generally trolling the cinematic community at large in the process, is FROZEN with $28.8 million. That’s a huge boost of 46.9% on last week and brings the Disney animated flick’s total gross to $248.4 million. With outstanding word-of-mouth and very little in the way of family-friendly competition, FROZEN can now boast about the 3rd best 5th weekend ever. A weird accolade maybe, but considering that the box-office anomalies of AVATAR and TITANIC are in 1st and 2nd respectively, it’s testament to FROZEN’s remarkable staying power.
Of the Christmas Day releases, three fit our ‘sci-fi, fantasy or horror’ quota. First up in 3rd is Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, which took $13 million over the weekend (for a 5-day total of $25.6 million). It’s not a great start for a film that was once upon touted as a serious awards hopeful, but Christmas releases typically have long holds, and it should ultimately perform okay.
Next up in 5th is 47 RONIN, the long-delayed, much-maligned samurai film that was doomed from the off. Thematically neat, no? Despite the $200 million budget (!!) it took just $9.9 million over the weekend ($20.6 million for the week) and will be lucky to total higher than $50 million. In other words, it’ll be a bigger flop than the notorious THE LONE RANGER.
Lastly in 6th is GRUDGE MATCH, because if a film’s central premise is that two geriatrics from a by-gone era (namely RAGING BULL and ROCKY) are gonna lump seven bells out of each other for laughs, it definitely belongs somewhere in the nebulous line between sci-fi and fantasy. Either way, it was saved from picking up the ‘biggest dissapointment’ award by the fantastical failure of 47 RONIN. Despite initially hoping to perform like GRAN TORINO (really?) it picked up just $7.3 million. With a paltry $13.4 grossed in its first week, the future looks rather bleak.
And dancing a merry dance within these new kids on the block is THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE in 4th which, despite losing ground to FROZEN, is still chugging along quite happily. A further $10.2 million this weekend has put its lifetime gross at $391.1 million, meaning there’s a chance it might end up as the year’s highest grossing film of the year ahead of IRON MAN 3’s $409 million.
Finally, kudos to HER in 9th which, in its 2nd week of limited release, picked up $645k at just 47 theatres. If word of mouth develops, and the award nominations keep coming in, it should perform well.
Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror Domestic Top 10
1. The Hobbit - $29.9m - ($190.3m gross, 3 weeks)
2. Frozen - $28.8m - ($248.4m gross, 6 weeks)
3. Walter Mitty - $13m - ($25.6m gross, 1 week)
4. Catching Fire - $10.2m - ($391.1m gross, 6 weeks)
5. 47 Ronin - $9.9m - ($20.6m gross, 1 week)
6. Grudge Match - $7.3m - ($13.4m gross, 1 week)
7. Walking With Dinosaurs - $7.1m - ($20.8m gross, 2 weeks)
8. Thor The Dark World - $660k - ($202.4m gross, 8 weeks)
9. Her - $645k - ($1.5m gross, 2 weeks)
10. The Book Thief - $640k - ($17.9m gross, 8 weeks)
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