China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is getting tough with cinema operators. The authority outlined new measures this week designed to prevent movie theater managers from manipulating box office figures and defrauding the government and rights holders. According to FilmBizAsia, SAPPRFT’s memo on the matter, aka “A Notification Regarding the Strengthening of Film Ticketing System’s Management Practices,” is the first major revision of regulations in the sector since 2005. It’s widely said that theaters hide income from the government which takes a 3% value-added tax on revenues as well as a 5% film fund tax. Local distributors usually have a 42% revenue share with exhibitors, and U.S. studios are entitled to receive 25% of the share. China’s reported box office in 2013 was $3.6B, but the state-controlled Xinhua news agency says industry experts believe the real figure is at least 10% higher. FBA says that insiders have claimed as much as $826M, or 18.7%, of box office sales was not reported last year.
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Ride Along’ A $48M Phenom Breaks Records – Highest MLK Holiday Opener Ever; ‘Lone Survivor’ Takes No Prisoners At No. 2; ‘Jack Ryan’ Who?; ‘The Nut Job’ Biggest Non-Studio Animated Opener
OPENING: Ride Along (UNI) Record Breaker $48.6M change; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PAR) trampled by Lone Survivor; The Nut Job (OPRD) $25.7M weekend?and busted non-studio animated record opener, Devil’s Due (Fox) goes all to hell. NOTEWORTHY: Oscar nominated August: Osage County (TWC) expands to over 2,000; Best Picture Oscar-nominees 12 Years A Slave(FSL), Captain Phillips (SONY), Philomena (TWC) holds strong, Gravity (WB), Dallas Buyers Club (Focus) all add theaters in hopes to cash in but really don’t. American Hustle (SONY) gets best bump and easily trumps The Wolf Of Wall Street (PAR).
UPDATE, TUESDAY, 2: 05 PM: Final numbers are in and Universal was right for Ride Along …. $48.6M for the four-day. Lone Survivor $22M (3-day and $25.9M (4-day). The Nut Job, $19.4M and 25.7M for a terrific, record-breaking opening (see below); Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opened with $15.4M and $18M, respectively. Rounding out the top five was Frozen, taking in yet another $11.7M and $16M in the four-day. The other opener, Devil’s Due was $8.3M and $9.1M for the seventh spot. Kudos to Uni’s Nikki Rocco and her team for getting it right with the $48M-plus prediction and for the one-two punch. American Hustle did solid numbers this weekend with a terrific bounce from the Oscar nominations. Also Philomena held very well this weekend. Here are the final numbers:
1). Ride Along (UNI), 2,663 theaters / 3-day Cume: $41.65 / Per screen 3-day: $15,590 / Estimated 4-day Cume: $48.6M / Total Gross To Date: $48.6M / Wk 1
2). Lone Survivor, (UNI) 2,989 theaters (+114) / 3-day Cume $22M (-42%) / Per screen 3-day: $7,780 / 4-day Cume: $26.9M / Total Gross: $76.7M / Wk 4
3) The Nut Job (OPRD) 3,427 theaters / 3-day Cume: $19.4M / Per screen 3-day: $5,668 / 4-day Cume: $25.7M / Total Gross: $25.7M / Wk 1
4). Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (PAR) 3,387 theaters / 3-day Cume: $15.4M / Per screen 3-day: $4,562/ 4-day Cume: $18M / Total Gross: $18M / Wk 1
5). Frozen, (DIS) 2,979 theaters (-260) / 3-day Cume: $11.7M (-20%) / Per screen 3-day: $3,952/ 4-day Cume: $16M / Total Gross: $336.6M / Wk 9
6). American Hustle, (SONY) 2,204 theaters (-425) / 3-day Cume: $9.86M (+19%) / 3-day Per screen: $4,477 /4-day Cume: $11.7M / 4-day Per screen: $5,184 / Total Gross: $117.5M / Wk 6
7). Devil’s Due (FOX) 2,544 theaters / 3-day Cume: $8.3M / 3-day Per screen: $3,266 / 4-day Cume: $9.1M / Total Gross: $9.1M / Wk1
8). August: Osage County, (TWC) 2,051 theaters (+1146) / 3-day Cume: $7.3(+3%) / 3-day Per screen: $3,591/ 4-day Cume: $8.8M / Total Gross: $19.3M / Wk 4
9). The Wolf Of Wall Street, (PAR) 1,930theaters (-591) / 3-day Cume: $7M (-20%) / 3-day Per screen: $3,363 /4-day Cume: $8.3M / Total Gross: $91.1M / Wk 4
10). Her, (WB) 1,729 theaters (0) / 3-day Cume: $4M (-25%) / 3-day Per screen: $2,333/ 4-day Cume: $4.87M / Total Gross: $15.8M / Wk 5
Average ticket outlays were slightly lower than in Q2 when they hit $8.38, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Still, the trade group’s latest number is up 3.7% vs the same period in 2012, making it the biggest year-over-year quarterly jump since early 2010. For the full year, consumers spent an average of $8.13 for a ticket, a new high that’s +2.1% vs 2012. Remember that several factors influence the average price — including how many people pay a premium to see a film in 3D or on an IMAX screen. The Q4 number was expected to be relatively high: The quarter had 3D hits with Warner Bros’ Gravity (80% of its domestic gross came from 3D venues) and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, and Disney’s Frozen and Thor: The Dark World. The quarter also had several popular films targeted to adults including Paramount’s The Wolf Of Wall Street and Sony’s American Hustle. Ticket prices for adult-themed films are typically higher than they are for children’s fare.
In 2011, Iron Man (I and II) director Jon Favreau called the summer of 2011, “a bloodbath for Hollywood” because of the number big-budget special effects films, remakes and sequels. Pfft! Wait until you get a load of next year. The amount of big-budget sequel fare and remakes set for 2015 from the major studios is mind-boggling and add to that highly anticipated films such as Fifty Shades Of Grey and another Quentin Tarantino film in the same year and you have all the makings for the biggest movie going year in history. The year is even going to start out hitting the ground running with audience-familiar titles, but it the summer and holiday season of 2015 that will be packed like no other — which brings up serious questions about what will happen as some of the biggest franchises in history collide? Remember, these films need major market exposure on over 2,500-3,000 screens or more to open big and some of them hope to play for weeks. This is going to be a star-studded war. I guess it was inevitable when studios ride out the franchises as far as they do now … what are we on Mission: Impossible 5 and Fast & Furious 7 now? And we have another Star Wars on our hands.
The year 2015 will go down in the books as the World Cup of franchise players: Superman vs. Batman vs. The Avengers vs. Mad Max vs. Fast & Furious vs. Jurassic Park vs. Terminator vs. Fantastic Four 3D, Marvel’s Ant-Man vs. Assassins vs. Untitled Bourne Identity, and then James Bond vs. Star Wars vs. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 vs. Mission Impossible for top film of the year.
In kid fare, parents should be ready to be pulled to the theater time and time again (sacrificing much-needed sleep) with Cinderella, Monster Trucks, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Alvin And The Chipmunks 4, Peanuts, The Smurfs 3, Tomorrowland, and SpongeBob 2.
Practically every genre in 2015 is looking at proven titles: The year will start with the typical early year horror film fare — again no stopping franchise names — Amityville from Dimension and Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe both in January, and Friday the 13th and Poltergeist. That will be followed by Fifty Shades Of Grey, based on the mega-selling book by EL James, which bows in February before the floodgates open again on sequels and remakes.
The plethora of franchise titles will likely push the 2015 box office to record-breaking heights as this year’s holdovers from the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fare — such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (which bows on November 21), Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 and Sony’s Annie and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again (or should it be called The Hobbit: Here It Comes Again) will also add to the huge overall gross numbers of 2015.
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Lone Survivor’ Takes In $37.8M, Not $38.5M, ‘Hercules’ Edges ‘Wolf’ For Third Place, ‘American Hustle’ In Fifth Celebrating Its $100M
OPENED THIS WEEKEND: The Legend of Hercules (LGF/SUMMIT) opens wide, anemic. Lone Survivor (UNI) expands wide to dominate weekend $37.8M. Her (WB) expands from 47 to 1,729 theaters. NOTEWORTHY: American Hustle (SONY) crossed $100M, August: Osage County (TWC) on 905 screens, very solid. Her (WB) holding. Philomena (TWC) drops only 4% going into awards season.
UPDATE, MONDAY, 1:15 PM: With final box office numbers, comes some surprises today. Lone Survivor ended up with $37.8M, so Universal Pictures estimated too high (as did Paramount Pictures on The Wolf Of Wall Street – both distribs always seem to estimate high). But Lone Survivor still was stellar over the three-day frame. The Legend Of Hercules rose to third place, edging out Wolf, which took the No. 4 spot after Sunday numbers came in. Universal distrib execs called that one. American Hustle followed in the fifth spot and also estimated too high (was $8.6M) — it came in at $8.3M to change its final ranking. Still, it crossed the $100M mark. The Golden Globes did have a slight impact on the box office numbers. The Top 20 chart has been updated with real numbers reported by the studio to Rentrak:
1). Lone Survivor, (UNI) 2,876 theaters (+2,873) / 3-day Cume: $37.8M/ Per screen average: $13,165 / Total Cume: $38.2M / Wk 3
2) Frozen, (DIS) 3,329 theaters (-79) / 3-day Cume: $14.7M (-25%) / Per screen: $4, 547 / Total Cume: $317.3M / Wk 8
3). The Legend Of Hercules, (LGF/SUMMIT) 2,104 theaters / 3-day Cume: $8.86M / Per screen: $4,215 / Wk 1
4). The Wolf Of Wall Street, (PAR) 2,521 theaters (-36) / 3-day Cume: $8.83 (-33%) / Per screen: $3,506 / Total Cume: $78.4M / Wk 3
5). American Hustle, (SONY) 2,629 theaters (+111) / 3-day Cume: $8.3M / Per screen: $3,158 / Total Cume: $101.2M / Wk 5
6). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, (WB) 3,075 theaters (-655) / $3-day Cume: $8M (-49%) / Per screen: $2,609 / Total Cume: $242.2M / Wk 5
7). August: Osage County, (TWC) 905 theaters (+900) / 3-day Cume: $7.1M / Per screen: $7,910 / Total Cume: $7.7M / Wk 3
8). Saving Mr. Banks, (DIS) 2,671 theaters (+561) / 3-day Cume: $6.5M (-25%) / Per screen: $2,455 / Total Cume: 68.9M / Wk 5
9). Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, (PAR) 2,883 theaters (+16) / 3-day Cume: $6.3M (-65%)/ Per screen: $2,180 / Total Cume: $28.4 (-66%) / Wk 2
10). Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, (PAR) 3,012 theaters (-395) / 3-day Cume: $5.8M (-45%) / Per screen: $2,102 / Total Cume: 118.2M / Wk 4
Art House Exhibs Asking For ‘12 Years A Slave’ After Globes Best Picture Win; Fox Searchlight Adding Hundreds Of Theaters
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight plans to add about 500 theaters this weekend for director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave after last night’s Best Picture Drama win at the Golden Globes with a goal of reaching 1,000 runs in the next two weeks. Expect a lot of art house locales as big theaters are very packed with holdover holiday fare. After getting such nods from the Globes and Oscar nominations, a studio often ups its runs of the film when it can using those awards and nominations as a marketing tool. New ads touting the nominations and wins are traditionally done and then blasted out into the marketplace. Award nominations and wins, especially for the Oscars, means cash at the box office. For instance, Argo, which was still in theaters, had grossed $110M before Oscar nominations and then grossed another $19M after. Between the time from the nominations to the Academy Award ceremony, the Warner Bros drama got a 14% bump at the box office and then another 5% bump after its win for Best Picture. (What was interesting is that Argo was on DVD at the time but still playing in theaters). Sony has previously stated that it plans to re-release Captain Phillips on Wednesday, the day before the Academy Award nominations are announced, and hopes to expand the film to 1,000 screens. The studio’s American Hustle, which won the other Best Picture Golden Globe (for Comedy or Musical) is already in the marketplace in over 2,500 theaters. Conversely, Slave is playing in only 114 theaters.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Lone Survivor’ Opens Strong In Late-Night Showings; $33M to $35M Weekend Now Predicted; ‘Hercules’ Anemic
UPDATE, 4:34 PM: In a matter of less than 24 hours, Universal has doubled its expectations for the war-themed action/drama Lone Survivor to $33M-$35M for the 3-day weekend. And, according to distributors’ estimates, Lone Survivor will open far and above the other titles in the marketplace. These are very early returns from Friday play times and numbers are bound to change after the N.Y. evening shows and L.A. afternoon and evening dates are calculated. Other titles’ box office numbers (below) are also expected to rise. Stay tuned.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY AM: Lone Survivor, the true story about a group of Navy SEALs who are cut off from communication and then ambushed by Al-Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan, opened well in late-night showings — 8 PM-midnight in 1,811 theaters in the U.S. The action pic from director Peter Berg and real-life hero Marcus Luttrell took in $1.5M, according to U.S. distributor Universal Pictures. Today it opens on 2,876 theaters in North America; EOne is handling the film’s distribution in Canada. The picture is currently on track to take the No. 1 box office spot, and Fandango reported it had 51% of ticket sales leading into the weekend. The consensus is that it will far outweigh newcomer The Legend Of Hercules from Lionsgate/Summit which may even fall towards the bottom of the pack as it is getting killed by the critics (a zero Rotten Tomato score? Yikes!), but it all remains to be seen. It’s typically very hard to track war-themed films, but the best comparison is probably Zero Dark Thirty which opened limited in December last year, expanded wide in January and grabbed a $24.4M in its 3-day opening weekend. It opened wide in 2,072 runs for its Thursday night sneak to gross $650,000, according to Sony. However, it opened at 10 PM, giving it one less showing in slightly fewer theaters.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire topped $409.4M last night, surpassing the first The Hunger Games which grossed $408M. It marks the first time ever that the first two installments of a franchise have each grossed $400M at the domestic box …
‘Frozen’ Becomes Shining Star For Disney: Surpasses $300M Domestically, At $655M Worldwide To Date; Is Broadway Next?
Frozen, the animated musical from Walt Disney Studios Animation, has slid past the $300M mark domestically, according to estimates Tuesday night. The film is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing Disney Animation release in history … one insider said it could become their Billion dollar baby. This, of course, begs the question — will Frozen‘s huge success take it all the way to the Great White Way? It a natural for Disney. The soundtrack just hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart today and the film itself seems custom-made for a stage presentation for a holiday season as soon as the ice freezes in Rockefeller Center. “There’s been no discussion on doing that with Frozen yet, but we are obviously aware how powerful it is and how powerful the music is,” said one top Disney executive. At present, Disney is prepping for Aladdin which bows on Broadway on March 20th. And, as everyone knows, The Lion King has become a huge success — for a while a permanent fixture – on Broadway, winning six Tony Awards and playing throughout the country and on stages worldwide (in many territories). It has, as of year-end 2013, become the first Broadway show ever with $1B in cume gross; it has been running 17 years to pass Les Miserables as the 4th longest running show on Broadway. So, it would make sense for Frozen to follow in its footsteps to become the next worldwide juggernaut. The Lion King box office success also spawned two direct-to-video films, a spinoff TV series and several video games. In fact, the previous record-holder at the worldwide box office for Disney was the original The Lion King, which in 1994 ended up with a total gross on its initial run of $313M domestically and $452M internationally for a total worldwide cume of $765M.
Deadline’s International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom wrap up the major box office trends across Europe, China and South America this past year and moving into 2014, including what impacts the 2014 World Cup will have on the film business in host country Brazil and other soccer-mad countries; ponder the just-breaking news about a change of Hollywood “gatekeepers” at the top of China Film Group; look at two hugely successful films burning hot and cold across the global box office this past week; and put the telescope on the Rising Stars reaching for one of BAFTA’s coolest awards.
OPENING: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount, wide) $18.3 est. 3-day opening for recast franchise NOTEWORTHY: Frozen (DIS) crosses $600M worldwide
UPDATED MONDAY, 1:30 PM: Final numbers for all weekend estimates are less than expected as arctic temps across the nation kept moviegoers home Sunday night. As it played out, The Wolf of Wall Street ended up at $13.2M and American Hustle at $12.4M for the three-day weekend and, of the top ten, Wolf had the best weekend to weekend hold, down 29%. Other pics have been in the marketplace longer, of course, but it is still worth noting. Opening wide this Friday will be The Legend of Hercules from Lionsgate from director Renny Harlin, Universal’s Afghan battle pic Lone Survivor and expanding to 1,700 screens is Warner Bros.’ Her from Spike Jonze. Here are the final numbers and rankings from this weekend. Bottom ten on second page:
1). Frozen (DIS), $19,575,525 3-day (-32% from previous weekend) / 3,318 locations (-17) / $5,900 average / Cume: $296,691,729 / Wk 7
2). Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (PAR), $18,343,611 / 2,867 locations / $6,398 average / Cume: $18,343,611, / Wk 1
3). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (WB), $15,675,220 (-46%)/ 3,730 locations (-168) $4,202 average / Cume: $229,059,642 / Wk 4
4). The Wolf Of Wall Street (PAR), $13,230,353 (-29%) / 2,557 locations (+20) / $5,174 average / Cume: $63,125,467 / Wk 2
5). American Hustle (SONY), $12,404,207 (-34%) / 2,518 locations (+11) / $4,926 average / Cume: $87,923,123 / Wk 4
6). Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (PAR) $10,633,959 (-45%)/ 3,407 locations (-100) / $3,121 average / Cume; $108,713,472 / Wk 3
7). Saving Mr. Banks (DIS), $8,694,891 (-35%) / 2,110 locations (0) / $4,121 average / Cume: $58,958,280 / Wk 4
8). The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (FOX), $8,001,717 (-37%)/ 2,922 locations (+13) / $2,738 average / Cume: $45,470,954 / Wk 2
9). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (LG), $7,051,309 (-30%) / 2,143 locations (-172) / $3,290 average / Cume: $407,139,699 / Wk 7
10). Grudge Match (WB), $5,325,423 (-34%) / 2,856 locations (+18) / $1,865 average / Cume: $24,835,480, / Wk 2
The only new box office offering this weekend, horror film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opened decently on Thursday night for $1.2M in 1,600 theaters. Paramount estimates show the picture on track to a midteen-millions 3-day weekend, though bad weather in the Northeast is impacting box office. The hilarious thing is that the studio is calling it “a new franchise.” To audiences, the franchise is associated with the title. To be fair this one has been recast with Hispanic actors this time around (which could be a smart move). How this film will do in the long run will be interesting to watch. The studio says it’s only a $5M budget (who knows?).
Horror movies, as a rule, are hard to track and audiences for these kind of films can either flock or flee depending on the film. Carrie opened to $16.1M but then clearly underperformed, grossing only $35.2 for its distributor Screen Gems. On the other hand, Mama, which also opened in January, ended up grossing more than $71M domestically for Universal. Studios have in recent years looked to January as the time to open horror movies — sometimes they work, and other times they don’t. One Missed Call, which was a remake of the successful Japanese horror film, opened the same weekend in 2008 to $12.5M and grossed $26.8M for Warner Bros, while Cursed open at the beginning of the year (in February) and underperformed.
Year-End: Top 10 Domestic Grossers Of 2013 – ‘Iron Man 3′ Is No. 1, ‘Frozen’ Surges & Overtakes ‘Gravity’ For 6th Spot
The end of year box office totals are in and Walt Disney Studios ended up with four of the Box Office Top Ten slots in 2013 (it can thank Marvel for No 1. leader Iron Man 3), although top grossers like Man Of Steel and Gravity from Warner Bros. gave it the top spot in market share. Disney’s Frozen has been leap-frogging over one film after another to land the No. 6 spot in only 6 weeks of release. Here are the top films this year (through December 31, 2013). Click on a photo to launch the slideshow.
Year-End: Top International Box Office Draws Of 2013 – Robert Downey Jr And Dwayne Johnson Battle For Supremecy
Which superstar outdrew their peers to top the international box office in 2013? The answer might surprise you. Here are the Top 10 Hollywood heavyweights of this year’s global live-action hits whose star power played a significant role in international returns (Sandra Bullock just missed making the cut). Click on a photo to launch the slideshow countdown:
Christmas Box Office Update: Last Weekend Of 2013 Up 8.1% On More Movies In Marketplace, ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Frozen,’ Together Take 34% Out Of Weekend, ‘Anchorman 2,’ ‘Hustle,’ ‘Wolf’ Follow
CHRISTMAS DAY OPENERS: The Wolf Of Wall Street (Paramount, wide) sliding down to No. 5 in 3-day, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Fox, wide), 47 Ronin (Universal, wide) bomb, Grudge Match (Warner Bros, wide), Justin Bieber’s Believe (Open Road, moderate), The Invisible Woman (Sony Pictures Classics, ltd), Lone Survivor (Universal, 2 runs), August: Osage County (The Weinstein Co, ltd on Friday) $35,000 per screen wknd.
UPDATE: MONDAY, 2:42 PM: Year-to-date industry box office numbers are in, showing a slight increase of less than one percentage point from last year, or about $90M difference. Specifically, 2013 grosses rose .8% to $10.763B for the year ending 12/29/13 vs. $10.674B for the year ending 12/30/12 (as previously reported it would be less than 1%). When you just look at the Top Ten films in the marketplace over the last weekend of 2012 vs 2013, there was an overall increase this year of 8.1% in grosses, according to Rentrak. In analyzing these numbers, one must take into account that this year there were simply more movies in the marketplace. We must also look at attendance and ticket prices increases or decreases. But those specific attendance figures and average tickets prices, which will round out the big picture, won’t be released by the National Association of Theater Owners for another few weeks. In the meantime, here are the 3-day and 5-day Christmas holiday box office weekend numbers from Rentrak. These are the best estimates available, given that the studios only reported their estimates and the actuals won’t arrive until Thursday.
1). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (WB), $29,040,000 (3-day), $48,870,000 (5-day), 3,928 locations, $189,494,000, Wk 3.
2. Frozen (DIS), $28,596,319 (3-day), $44,059,244 (5-day), 3,335 locations, $248,117,795, Wk 6.
3). Anchorman 2 (PAR), $19,662,000 (3-day), $35,126,000 (5-day), 3,507 locations, $83,180,000, Wk 2.
4). American Hustle (SONY), $18,701,000 (3-day), $32,451,000 (5-day), 2,507 locations, $59,185,000, Wk 3.
5). The Wolf Of Wall Street (PAR), $18,360,000 (3-day), $34,151,000 (5-day), 2,537 locations, $34,152,000, Wk 1.
6). Saving Mr. Banks (DISNEY) $13,453,533 (3-day), $23,261,566 (5-day), 2,110 locations, $37,276,150, Wk 3.
7). The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (Fox), $12,765,508 (3-day), $25,360,468 (5-day), 2,909 locations, $25,360,468, Wk 1
8). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (LGF) $10,061,479 (3-day), $15,629,461 (5-day), 2,315 locations, $390,985,322, Wk 6
9). 47 Ronin (Uni) $9,910,310 (3-day), $20,612,531 (5-day) 2,689 locations, $20,612,530, Wk 1.
10). Walking With Dinosaurs (Fox) $7,276,172 (3-day), $11,151,353 (5-day) 3,243 locations, $20,944,478, Wk 2
11). Grudge Match (WB) $7,015,000 (3-day), $13.4M (5-day), 2,838 locations, $13,140,000, Wk 1
12). Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (LGF) $6,887,194 (3-day), $12.4M (5-day), 1,788 locations, $43,206,270, Wk 3.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug is off to a smash hit start in Australia having opened on Boxing Day (December 26th) — a national holiday observed by most of the country. The sequel, which dominated the box office with a 60% market share of the top 5 films, grossed an estimated $4.9M in U.S. dollars from 629 screens. It holds the distinction as the second-biggest Boxing Day opening of all time, finishing 7% behind The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It also ranks as the biggest Thursday opening in Australia. Warner Bros’ Desolation Of Smaug opened about 10 days earlier in New Zealand (where Peter Jackson is making the Hobbit trilogy) with a four-day gross of $1.85M from 201 screens. That also logged a 10% higher box office gross than An Unexpected Journey’s record-breaking showing a year earlier. Smaug also gave the studio its biggest-ever weekend opening in Russia and opened in the top spot there with an estimated $18.8M from 2,115 screens, tracking ahead of the original. It has been No. 1 in Germany and has been outperforming the original Hobbit there and in France. The total take in the UK alone is more than $32M.