I do love when big releases come out outside the summer because they seem to carry more weight because there is less out there in the movie landscape. You don’t have to divide your attention into several event movies like you do in the summer, as you’ll get usually just one per season that is set to blow your mind. This weekend, my friends, are one of those events. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out and it’s the only wide release this weekend so it has all of your attention. I looked at my Facebook feed on Thursday night and I saw bunches of people posting the pics or statuses of going and getting dressed up for it. It’s these type of events that get me psyched up to see movies because there’s nothing more invigorating than sitting a full theater with all the people that are geeking out about one film. Everyone laughs in the same spots, gets pumped up at certain times, and everyone cheers in the end. Stuff like that gets me excited to go to the movie theater and believe me, there will be a TON of people excited with me. How many people and how much money is to be earned? Let’s get into that right now because this is…the Box Office Predictions of the Hobbit weekend, aka December 14th through 16th!
Of course, we have to see how I did the weekend before. While I did well in terms of predicting Skyfall reaching the top spot, even garnering props from fellow writer Amanda, I also deservedly got crap for saying that Playing For Keeps was going to tie it for first place. That, in hindsight, was a stupid choice. Skyfall did reach number one but it definitely overshot my estimate of 9 million to end with 10.7 million for the weekend. In 2nd place was Rise of the Guardians, which held up stronger than I thought it would, good news for Dreamworks Animation, as it almost snagged first place but got 10.4 million compared to my low prediction of 6.5 million. In 3rd, Breaking Dawn – Part 2 ended up with 9 million, just ahead of my 8 million prediction. Lincoln also powered through my projection and scored 9 million instead of my guess of 7 million. Life of Pi showed some legs as it scored 8 million versus my 6 million I projected. Then of course, Playing For Keeps, did NOT make my 9 million prediction, instead tanking at just under 6 million. I wish I could say it won’t happen again. But I like to keep you guys on your toes.
Let’s do this then. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s coming out. It’s in IMAX. It’s in 3D. It’s in HFR 3D. It’s in freaking IMAX HFR 3D! You have several options to watch this flick and at 2 hours and 45 minutes, hopefully you pick the right option for you. Basically the reason I mention all of these is because you’re going to have options that are going to cost more than the average ticket. How it was supposed to be seen is in HFR 3D and you know theaters will tack on higher pricing for those tickets. Plus it’s the freaking Hobbit. We’ve all been waiting for so long to see this come out, almost like how Skyfall was waiting with the MGM bankruptcy too and look at all the buzz that got and all the people that came out to the theater to check that out. We’re due for an epic and this comes at the right time. However, the reviews are coming back more mixed than usual so this will be an interesting test. That and the almost 3 hour run time might bog down on screenings but that never stopped it previously, right? Alright, let’s look at some comparisons: The Matrix Reloaded and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
That’s right, I’m invoking the two most vilified returns to a franchise. Not because I think The Hobbit will trip and drop the torch like these movies did, but the numbers should be similar on what to expect in terms of buzz and people coming to watch their franchise come back. The Matrix Reloaded did an amazing 91 million and averaged 25k per screen despite the fact that everyone came out of the movie and wondered aloud what just happened on the screen. However, it drew so many people excited to see the return to the Matrix so everyone spent money to take it all in. Episode 1 did the same, everyone was so psyched to see light sabers, the force and Natalie Portman on the big screen in an epic return to the battle between good and the Sith. Yeah, after the fact, we knew this to be a horrible exercise in poor storytelling and vision and Jar Jar but again, everyone still came out in droves. While it didn’t pull in as much as The Matrix Reloaded, it did 64 million for the weekend, it still managed to average almost 22k per screen in only 2900 screens. The per screen average is going to be the big indicator on what The Hobbit will do. It’s going to do over 20k easily just because of ticket prices alone and it will fill theaters up and will probably get some repeat customers because that’s what crazed fans do for these types of movies as they want to pick up on all the small details.
So what’s it going to do? Well, here’s my prediction on The Hobbit. It’s coming in to 4045 theaters. We take that number and seeing how there is zero competition out there and that people have been clamoring for this for years, I’d say it’s going to do 28k average per screen. That puts it on pace for 113 million for the weekend. That number scares me because admittedly, I’ve been staring at predictions I’ve seen 80 million to 140 million. I guess this puts me right in the middle so hopefully the numbers will guide me the right way.
I almost don’t even care to predict how the other movies will turn out but we gotta make sure everyone is covered despite the concentration being on those dwarves and Bilbo. Skyfall will dip 45% to 6 million, Rise of the Guardians will drop 30% to 7 million, Twilight will drop another 50% to 5 million, Lincoln will drop 25% to 7 million due to recent nomination buzz, Life of Pi will drop 35% as 3D theaters will be taken away and that will result in 5 million for the weekend. Playing For Keeps will drop out of the sky at 65% and will garner only a 2 million return in its second weekend. Let’s recap, shall we?
[box_dark]1.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 113 million
2.) (tied) Rise of the Guardians: 7 million
3.) Lincoln: 7 million
4.) Skyfall: 6 million
5.) (tied) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: 5 million
5.) (tied)Life of Pi: 5 million[/box_dark]
Now we’ll see how this goes and have fun watching The Hobbit and look for our review on Saturday! We’ll be checking it out in HFR 3D by the way with the new frame rate so we’ll see how that goes. Enjoy Middle Earth my friends!