Here's your three-day box office returns (new releases bolded):
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - $32.9 million
2. Django Unchained - $30.6 million
3. Les Miserables - $28.0 million
4. Parental Guidance - $14.8 million
5. Jack Reacher - $14.0 million
6. This Is 40 - $13.1 million
7. Lincoln - $7.5 million
8. The Guilt Trip - $6.6 million
9. Monsters, Inc. 3D - $6.3 million
10 . Rise of the Guardians - $4.9 million
The Big Stories
America may be headed over the fiscal cliff, but the U.S. box office climbed to its highest peak in history this past week. After it looked like moviegoers might weeze to the top of Hollywood Everest, they pressed on like Sam carrying Frodo after downing a Five-Hour Energy drink with cocaine and shattered the record. $10.7 billion and counting takes down the $10.595 billion of 2009 and while they had some help it was partially due to the strong finishes of a former slave, a parole breaker and Frodo's uncle.
Bounty Hunters and Do-gooders
Les Miserables and Django Unchained opened to the second and third best Christmas Day openings ever. With $18.1 and $15 million, respectively, the pair ranked just behind Sherlock Holmes ($24.6 million) which had the luxury of opening on a Christmas Friday as well, making their takedown of Marley & Me's $14.3 million all the more impressive. Their six-day grosses for this time of year are equally as impressive, ranking as follows with their fellow Christmas openers.
Sherlock Holmes ($93.4), Les Miserables ($66.8), Marley and Me ($65.5), Django Unchained ($64.0), Catch Me if You Can ($54.6), Bedtime Stories ($51.0), Cheaper by the Dozen ($49.0), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ($48.3), Patch Adams ($40.3), Valkyrie ($37.4)
Tom Hooper's Les Mis may have been a tad front-loaded (just like its Oscar talk) and has already started to fall behind Quentin Tarantino's Django. Christmas releases to start with over $30 million in their first six days have multiplied anywhere from 1.67 (Ali) to 3.34 (Patch Adams) towards their final grosses, the average of which could put both films in the $164-$171 million range. Each film has very good odds of scoring a Best Picture nomination in a couple weeks. Nominee The Curious Case of Benjamin Button found itself to have a 2.63 multiplier en route to its $127.5 million take -- slightly higher than the Christmas-opener average. The year 2010's holiday Western, True Grit, opened on December 22 and went on to not only double-digit Oscar nominations but $171.2 million at the box office. Django is about three days ahead of its pace, though the Coen-brothers film had its holiday fall on a Saturday to not get its extra boost. Look for Django to fall below its total but still well ahead of Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds as his highest-grossing film to date. It only needs $135.5 million to be the Weinstein Co.'s highest grosser ever. By estimation, it is unlikely it grosses less than $138.
The Hobbit Continues to Climb
The fate of Bilbo Baggins and his gang of dwarves may have been a bit underestimated, despite decidedly mixed reviews. It's overseas tally was never going to be in question and currently stands at over $600 million overall. Domestically An Unexpected Journey is over $220 million in 17 days and even with a five-day head start on Fellowship's release pattern, it is seven days ahead of its pace as the first Lord of the Rings adventure had $189.2 million in the bank over the same stretch. The beginning of Frodo's journey did do more than half of its business after its first 17 days in release -- a feat unlikely to be matched by The Hobbit.
Yearly Winners and Losers
As The Hobbit currently ranks as the ninth highest worldwide grossing film of 2012, it is still on the outside of the top 10 looking in when it comes to the year's true successes. Not that it is far behind with its estimated $150 million budget, but that is what everyone should be looking at when it comes to ranking the biggest winners of the year and, most certainly, the biggest losers. We can all look at a chart and see which films sold the most tickets, but based on what was spent to sell them and what the studios took back, here are the estimations on the real successes and failures of 2012.
Top 10 of 2012 (Budget to Grosses)
(1) The Avengers ($1.51 billion/$220 million budget) (2) Ice Age: Continental Drift ($875.1/$95) (3) Skyfall ($1+ billion estimated/$200) (4) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 ($800+ estimated/$120) (5) The Hunger Games ($686.5/$78) (6) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($850+ estimated/$150) (7) The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion/$250 million) (8) Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted ($742.1/$145) (9) Ted ($501.8/$50) (10) Titanic 3D ($343.6/$18)
Remember that studios recoup on average about 55% of a film's theatrical gross and there's also the little cost of marketing that is also estimated on par with a film's budget. That said, without further ado, we bid adieu to the biggest bombs and disappointments of 2012.
Worst 10 of 2012 (Budget to Grosses)
(1) John Carter ($282.7 millon/$250 million budget) (2) Battleship ($302.8/$209) (3) Cloud Atlas ($38.9/$102) (4) Dark Shadows ($239.1/$150) (5) Rock of Ages ($56.3/$75) (6) Red Dawn ($43/$65) (7) That's My Boy ($57.7/$70) (8) Total Recall ($198.4/$125) (9) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ($69.8/$69) (10) The Watch ($67.9/$68)
Looking Forward to 2013
It is pretty crazy looking at the overview of next year and noticing just how many sequels and revisions on classic stories will be hitting the multiplexes. Ted was the only true original to break into the top grossers of 2012; a list that when all is said and done will include 29 films that hit $100 million, 11 that hit $200 and three over $400, ranking third, seventh and 13th on the all-time list. Can 2013 top 2012's record year? Unlikely. But spurred on by a number of familiar entries in every season, a disappointing year hardly seems like it is in the cards. Get back to me next year and see how many of these films end up amongst the top-grossing films of 2013.
Despicable Me 2, Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness
Success in regards to budgets, of course, will be another matter.