The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Warner Brothers) dethroned the reigning king of the box office, Frozen, this weekend, with a strong showing, raking in approximately $73.7 milion. Frozen (Walt Disney Pictures) fell to second place, but took in a respectable $22.2 million domestically in its second weekend in release. That brings its total gross domestic take to $164.4 million.
Though The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug became the new box office champion, it earned 13 percent less in its debut than the first movie in the series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which took in $84.6 million in its December 2012 debut.
Two characters who weren’t in JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit novel but were in the movie might have aided the rise of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to the Number One place at the box office. They were Evangeline Lilly’s elvish character, Tauriel, and Orlando Bloom’s Legolas. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock), as the voice of Smaug, also contributed to overall ticket sales..
Ticket sales from IMAX theaters accounted for 49 percent of its weekend gross. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned $9.2 million from its 3-D IMAX ticket sales.
In third place at the box office was the latest Tyler Perry Madea flick, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (Lionsgate). With an opening take of $16 million, it was the lowest debut gross yet for any of Perry’s Madea films.
Dropping to fourth place was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Lionsgate). Snow and ice storms kept many people inside their homes, away from movie theaters this weekend; but, this sequel to The Hunger Games still managed to earn $13.2 million, pushing its total domestic take so far to $357 million. It’s been in release for just four weekends but has total worldwide ticket sales of $792.9 million.
Thor: The Dark World (Walt Disney Pictures) was in fifth place at the box office, with a rather dismal showing of $2.7 million gross in its sixth weekend.
In sixth place was Out of the Furnace (Relativity Media), the crime thriller starring Christian Bale. It just took in a meager $2.3 million in its second weekend at the box office. That brings its domestic box office take to $9.5 million. Considering that it cost $170 million to produce the film, that is a disappointing earnings figure, indeed.
Seventh place at the box office went to the Vince Vaughn comedy, Delivery Man (DreamWorks Pictures), with a domestic take of only $1.9 million, bringing its total domestic gross to $28 million. It was produced with the relatively low budget of just $22 million, so its earnings have at least surpassed that figure.
Philomena (The Weinstein Co.) and The Book Thief (20th Century Fox) were in eighth and ninth place at the box office, despite both flicks getting, for the most part, favorable critical reviews.
Philomena had $1.8 million in ticket sales bringing its domestic total to $11 million, and The Book Thief earned $1.7 million gross, for a total domestic take of $14.9 million.
Coming in tenth place was Homefront (Open Road Films), with a domestic gross of $1.6 million, and a cumulative take of $18.4 million. Homefront fell four spots from sixth to tenth place.
Its production budget was $22 million, so, while it still has a chance to earn at least what it cost to make it, so far, the total earnings figure has fallen short of that mark.
With no other family-oriented movies scheduled for release before Christmas, Frozen is likely to continue its successful earning streak at the box office. However, the movie that has replaced it this weekend as the box office king is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Written by: Douglas Cobb