Weekend Box Office: “The Hobbit.” Of Course.

By Kirsten Anderson Box Office

The journey begins as expected--with a lot of money.

The numbers:

. The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) NEW [Runs 4,045] PG13
Friday $37.5M, Saturday $28.1M, Weekend $84.8M

2. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) Week 6 [Runs 2,924] PG13
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $7.0M, Cume $272.4M

3. Rise Of The Guardian (DWA/Par) Week 4 [Runs 3,387] PG
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $7.0M, Cume $71.0M

4. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 6 [Runs 2,285] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $107.7M

5. Life Of Pi (Fox) Week 4 [Runs 2,548] PG
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $2.4M, Weekend $5.4M, Cume $69.5M

I mean, really, what is there to say? “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opened huge, as expected. It easily broke the record for best December opening weekend held by “I Am Legend” which opened with $77 million in 2007. It’s having a bigger opening weekend than any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies, but it should be noted that they all opened not just with ten years ago prices, but also only 2D prices; “The Hobbit” has the benefit of 3D and IMAX prices. The film, which is immune to criticism in many circles, received an “A” Cinemascore (okay, I’ll just make it clear right now that I was a huge fan of what Peter Jackson did with the LOTR movies, and while I haven’t seen this one yet, I’m very disappointed by what I’ve heard so far; however, I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see it).

It’s interesting to see how this opening weekend ranks with other openings this year. Right now if the numbers stay the same, it would land in sixth place, just below “Skyfall,” which opened with $88 million. I wonder how much more money “The Hobbit” might have made if it had been a more manageable length, which would have allowed more screenings per day.

This is the film that’s supposed to introduce the world to the 48 frames per second (FPS) rate, which is double the standard 24 FPS films have been shown at since the dawn of sound at the end of the 1920s. Opinion is very divided, with some people (like Jackson) saying it’s the future of film, so much clearer, and closer to the way we see things in real life; others say it’s like watching something shot on video on your hi-def TV, and that the sharpness doesn’t do any favors to the effects, sets, and makeup. The movie is being shown in a variety of formats 2D and 3D, IMAX and 3D IMAX, 24 FPS and 48 FPS. Here’s some interesting info via Deadline about how people went to see “The Hobbit.”

In the U.S. and Canada, MovieTickets said box office advance tickets for the pic accounted for nearly 91% of sales going into Friday, with nearly 18% coming from those wanting to see the film in standard 3D format, 8% in High Frame Rate 3D, and 7% in IMAX 3D.

Of course most people just choose the closest theater, whatever the format. I’m also pretty sure many people probably weren’t even aware of the FPS options and those who stumbled into the 48 FPS screenings likely just came out saying, “Was it me or was there something strange about the way that movie looked?”

Well, we might as well move on to next week. What do we have? “The Guilt Trip” and “Monsters Inc.” open wide on Wednesday and “Zero Dark Thirty” opens Wednesday in limited release. “Jack Reacher” and “This is 40″ open wide on Friday, and “Amour,” “The Impossible,” “Not Fade Away,” and “On the Road” all open in limited release on Friday. Busy weekend, but can anything topple “The Hobbit?”

 

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