Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, a 3D fantasy drama about English-speaking French families, was no. 3 on Thursday after debuting at no. 7 on Wednesday, according to Box Office Mojo. At 1,277 theaters, Hugo brought in $2.34 million, for a per-site average of $1,834. That’s really not all that great, especially for a well-received and (costlier) 3D movie showing at a little over one third of the 3,440 locations showing The Muppets — which averaged $1,715. (All things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be.)
Hugo, which was made for "less than $150 million" as per producer Graham King, is expected to gross up to $14 million by Sunday evening. For the movie to break even (not including marketing/distribution expenses), its actual cost must have been way less than $150 million. The good news: among the top eight movies on the domestic box office chart, Hugo was the only one to be up more than 10 percent; in fact, Scorsese’s period fairy tale was up an impressive 40 percent.
Among the English-proficient French characters inhabiting Hugo’s fantasy world are Asa Butterfield in the title role, Ben Kingsley (as movie pioneer Georges Méliès), Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, and Jude Law.
Directed by Sarah Smith, Arthur Christmas, which cost a reported $100 million, isn’t doing all that great. It opened with $2.4 million on Wednesday, and was down to $1.85 million on Friday. The Sony/Columbia animated 3D movie features the voices of James McAvoy, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Joan Cusack, Jane Horrocks, Andy Serkis, Michael Palin, Ashley Jensen, Robbie Coltrane, Bill Nighy, and Dominic West.
Starring likely Best Actress contender Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn took in a surprisingly soft $156k on Thursday at 126 sites. The Weinstein Company release’s per-theater average was a modest $1,268. Simon Curtis directed Williams, in addition to Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, plus Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’s Emma Watson, Toby Jones, Geraldine Somerville, Pip Torrens, and Eddie Redmayne as the “my” in the title.
Hugo’s budget via the Los Angeles Times.
Hugo photo: Paramount Pictures