One hobbit to rule them all, one hobbit to find them, one hobbit to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Ok, maybe it wasn’t as huge as some might have expected, but The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey still broke the all-time December opening record with its $84.6 million debut.
Those familiar with the works of J.R.R. Tolkien will know that before The Lord of the Rings there was a little book called The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (the later part being used as the subtitle for the 3rd film). Published in 1937, the novel became quite popular so soon after the author was asked to write a second book. That follow-up got a proper live-action big screen treatment more than 10 years ago in the form of a trilogy that garnered a total of 17 Academy Awards and grossed over $2.9 billion at the worldwide box office. So instead of having The Hobbit the way it was meant, before The Lord of the Rings, we’re getting it now.
A total of 9 years have passed since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and in that time 3D became increasingly more popular, so obviously a new film had to take advantage of this new (not really) advancement. But since we’re talking about Peter Jackson here, just being on the same level as everyone else was clearly not enough so he decided to shoot The Hobbit at 48 frames per second. If this new features actually brings anything to the film, will be up to you, the viewer, to decide. I won’t be seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey until this Saturday and it will be in 3D at 24 frames.
So after months (years) of anticipation the first part in this new trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, is out and as expected, the box office records are starting to roll. As mentioned in the intro, the film’s $84.6 million opening broke the December record (previously held by I am Legend with $77.2 million since 2007). While that’s no small feat, there were some (including yours truly) expecting something north of $100 million from this juggernaut. So would I go as far and call this a disappointing debut? No, not at all actually. The film sports an “A” Cinemascore from moviegoers, which bods well for its box office prospects in the long run. Basically expect The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to dominate this holiday season and finish somewhere around $300 million in North America. If that will in fact be the case, then the flick will fail to match its predecessors which ranged from $313.3 million and up to $377 million. Ok, so maybe it might turn out a tiny bit disappointing, box office wise.
In 2nd place we had Rise of the Guardians with $7.1 million for a new total of $71 million so far. Coming in at #3 was Lincoln with $7 million. The film nominated for no less than 7 Golden Globes has so far grossed $107.6 million in North America and it doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. At this point I’m expecting this to finish with at least $160 million.
Skyfall was 4th with $6.5 million, down 39.2% from the previous week. Bond 23 now totals $271.9 million after 38 days in North American theaters.
Rounding out the top 5 we have Life of Pi with $5.4 million. The 3D adventure from acclaimed director Ang Lee sits at $69.5 million thus far, losing ground in its fight against Rise of the Guardians.