Your Complete Weekend Box Office Tracking, Predictions, & Analysis (12.18.14)

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$65 million

$24 million

$15 million

$12 million

$8 million

This is getting ridiculous, guys. Four out of this weekend’s top five movies have colons in their titles. And Exodus isn’t even a sequel! The madness has to stop soon, or all the colons will be gone, and we’ll be left trying to cobble together titles out of semicolons and ellipses.

Anyway. The clear leader of the Colon Crew (the Colon Colonel, if you will) is The Hobbit, which is sure to ride into first place on the wave of its two high-grossing predecessors (and the even higher-grossing trilogy it is prequel to). An Unexpected Journey grossed $85 million in its opening weekend, The Desolation of Smaug $74 million. Though it bows at the same point in the release cycle, The Battle of he Five Armies isn’t tracking to make quite that much, but it should still win the weekend handily, with the biggest draw since Mockingjay debuted. 

Night at the Museum should slide in to an easy second. Like The Hobbit, it’s the third installment of its franchise; the first two films made $30 million and $54 million in their respective opening weekends. With The Hobbit to contend with, it seems likely that Secret of the Tomb will make closer to the former figure than the latter.

 
  Opening Weekend Current Gross Facebook Likes Tweets
N/A N/A 14,381,439 122,749
N/A N/A 1,916,091 31,303
N/A N/A 282,239 15,571
$24.116 million $28.298 million 348,611 43,002
$121.898 million $279.368 million 22,388,230 72,590

 Then there’s Annie, looking faintly ridiculous at the center of all those ultralong be-coloned titles. You’d be forgiven for forgetting, after all the past few days’ drama over The Interview (which I’ll talk about in more detail next week) that it wasn’t the only movie hurt in the Sony hack. The hackers also leaked screeners of four upcoming movies, Annie included, online. Funnily enough, we actually have some precedent for how leaks like this affect the box office; over the summer, The Expendables 3 was leaked several weeks before release, and ended up taking in only $16 million in its opening weekend, a good $10 million south of projections. Of course, projections are wrong all the time for reasons entirely unrelated to hacking, so it’s impossible to say for certain that the leak was responsible for the underperformance.

In the case of Annie, we’re dealing with a family movie that seems less likely to be pirated by its core audience. But even setting piracy aside, Annie hasn’t been tracking all that well, and in particular, it doesn’t have great interest numbers. On a less loaded weekend, it might have scored higher, but it seems likely that Annie will take in less than $20 million.

That leaves us with our two holdovers, Exodus and Mockingjay. Reviews for Exodus were poor, and with the arrival of The Hobbit, audiences have other options if they want a spectacle; expect it to drop at least half of its $24 million opening weekend gross. Mockingjay, on the other hand, could hold on to 60 or 70 percent of last week’s audience, winding up with $7 or $8 million in its fifth (and likely final) weekend in the top five.

       
  Rotten Tomatoes IMDb Metacritic
  Critics Users # of Ratings Stars # of Ratings  
62 82 163,427 8.1 47,030 66
49 N/A 73,085 7.1 208 43
18 N/A 23,173 4.5 1,539 33
27 40 39,963 6.4 14,844 52
66 75 205,272 7.2 91,679 64

(Sources: boxoffice.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Starred figures are estimates. Tweets represent figures for this week only. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed. Tracking Board does not report Rotten Tomatoes user ratings for movies that have not yet seen wide release.)

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