The Hobbit movie box office: $200 million domestic cume
Dec. 29, '12: Fantasy, violence, or music? On Christmas Day, music (Les Misérables) won. Yesterday, fantasy (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and violence (Django Unchained) were – slightly – ahead. According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey led the pack with $10.72 million, followed by Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained with $9.67 million and Tom Hooper's Les Misérables with $9.4 million. (Image: Ian McKellen The Hobbit movie.)
Of note: the (est.) $150 million-budgeted The Hobbit has (finally) passed the $200 million milestone at the North American box office; if studio estimates are on target, its cume stands at $200.5 million on Day 15. On a more modest note, but also worth noting, both Les Misérables and Django Unchained will inevitably be passing the $50 million mark some time today.
For comparison's sake: Not adjusted for inflation and without the advantage of box-office-inflating 3D surcharges, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King reached $200 million on Day 11; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on Day 12; and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring on Day 19.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey features Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Richard Armitage, and countless others. Django Unchained features Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, and countless others. Les Misérables features Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, and countless others.
Parental Guidance ahead of Jack Reacher, but Tom Cruise movie sturdy
At no. 4, the Billy Crystal / Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance brought in $5.05 million, followed by Tom Cruise / Christopher McQuarrie's Jack Reacher with $4.52 million (down only 11 percent from opening day), and Judd Apatow / Paul Rudd / Leslie Mann's This Is 40 with $4.1 million (down only 10 percent from opening day).
Rounding out the top twelve were the following: Steven Spielberg / Daniel Day-Lewis' Lincoln with $2.39 million, the 3D rerelease (and box office bomb) Monsters, Inc. with $2.28 million, and Barbra Streisand / Seth Rogen's misfire The Guilt Trip with $2.17 million.
Plus: Rise of the Guardians with $1.81 million (with a better-than-expected cume of $87.27 million), Daniel Craig / Sam Mendes' Skyfall with $1.48 million, and Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence's Silver Linings Playbook with $1.28 million – and a modest $24.53 million cume after 43 days. For comparison's sake: The Weinstein Company's most recent Oscar bait, Django Unchained, has collected $42.99 million after four days.
The Impossible box office has upswing
Of note: On opening day a week ago, Juan Antonio Bayona / Naomi Watts' The Impossible brought in $37,726; yesterday, the tsunami family drama collected an estimated $51,700 at the same number of locations (15 theaters). David Chase / James Gandolfini's Not Fade Away took in an estimated $16k yesterday (at 19 locations) vs. $5k (at 3 locations) one week ago. Figures for the Walter Salles / Garrett Hedlund / Kristen Stewart drama On the Road are unavailable, but there's a good chance that, like The Impossible, it'll perform better this weekend than it did a week ago.
Now, somewhat surprisingly – as the torture controversy rages on – Kathryn Bigelow / Jessica Chastain's Zero Dark Thirty was down 18 percent compared to last Friday, at the same number of locations (5): an estimated $115k vs. $94,000. After ten days, Zero Dark Thirty has raked in $1.14 million.
Ian McKellen The Hobbit movie photo: Warner Bros.
Les Misérables, Django Unchained overperform on Christmas Day
Dec. 26: Les Misérables, directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper, and starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, and Eddie Redmayne, opened strongly on Christmas Day in North America, far surpassing distributor Universal's (official) expectations. And Quentin Tarantino's violent Django Unchained, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx, opened with better than expected figures – which is good news for The Weinstein Company, following recent box office disappointments / modest performers such as Paul Thomas Anderson / Joaquin Phoenix's The Master ($15.93 million as of Sunday) and, to a lesser extent, David O. Russell / Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence's Silver Linings Playbook ($19.86 million as of Sunday). (Image: Hugh Jackman Les Misérables.)
According to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com, Les Misérables scored around $18 million at 2,808 locations on Christmas, far above the $10+m predicted by Universal. (True, studios tend of underestimate the opening-weekend / opening-day gross of their films – for obvious reasons – but this is a bit much.) Whether that sizable figures for a nearly three-hour musical will hold in the coming days remains to be seen, as pre-sales accounted for a major percentage of the tickets sold on Christmas Day.
The R-rated Django Unchained, for its part, may reach $15.5 million at 3,010 venues – if so, that's the official estimated take of Tom Cruise's PG-13 Jack Reacher last weekend. It may also turn out to be a Christmas Day record for an R-rated release. Controversies because of the film's language and violence – Spike Lee has done his bit for it – have spurred interest in Tarantino's film, much like controversy helped to propel Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty to unexpected box office heights (in limited release) last week.
Rounding out this year's top five Christmas movies were Peter Jackson / Martin Freeman / Ian McKellen's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with about $10.8m; the Billy Crystal / Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance, with a surprising $7 million on opening day at 3,358 venues; and Christopher McQuarrie / Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher with $5.1 million.
Official studio estimates – or perhaps box office actuals, though that's not guaranteed – for Monday and Tuesday should come out some time on Wednesday.
Les Misérables 2012 movie, Django Unchained cast
Les Misérables features Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Sacha Baron Cohen as M. Thenardier, Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras, and Samantha Barks as Eponine. Based on Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Jean-Marc Natel's stage musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic mid-19th-century novel, Tom Hooper' film adaptation was written for the screen by William Nicholson. [See early Les Misérables reviews.]
Besides Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx, the Django Unchained cast includes Kerry Washington, Dennis Christopher, Don Johnson, James Remar, Samuel L. Jackson, Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, David Steen, Franco Nero, James Russo, and Jonah Hill.
Hugh Jackman Les Misérables photo: Working Title / Universal Pictures.
Tom Cruise Jack Reacher: wtf or acceptable second slot at weekend box office?
Dec. 23: Tom Cruise plays vigilante Jack Reacher in Christopher McQuarrie's concisely titled Jack Reacher, a film adaptation of Lee Child's novel One Shot. Things didn't start out very well, as some highly vocal fans of the Jack Reacher books – there are 17 of them (books, not fans) – were irked when it was announced that Cruise (5'7”) would be playing Reacher (6'5”). Recently, tracking for the movie has been middling, and not helping matters are Jack Reacher's mostly unenthusiastic reviews. (See below.) [Photo: Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie.]
Unsurprisingly, distributor Paramount said it expected Jack Reacher to earn an unimpressive $12-$15 million over the Dec. 21-23 weekend, behind only Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. True, the weekend before Christmas is generally a bit lowkey, but a debut in the low teens would have been quite weak for a movie featuring superstar Tom Cruise – he of blockbusters such as Top Gun, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, The Firm, Jerry Maguire, War of the Worlds, and the myriad Mission: Impossible movies.
Things looked brighter for both Tom Cruise and Jack Reacher when early estimates released Friday night indicated that Cruise's latest star vehicle would easily exceed Paramount's expectations, raking in around $17.5-18 million at 3,352 North American locations by Sunday evening. That would remain below Tom Cruise's debut-weekend averages, for sure, but it would also be remarkably better than expected, especially considering the timing of the release (generally lowkey weekend) and the fact that Jack Reacher still has both the Christmas and the New Year's holidays ahead of it.
However, things began looking somewhat dimmer when official studio estimates (as found at Box Office Mojo) were released Saturday morning, pegging Jack Reacher's Friday box office take at $5.1 million – or $600,000 below early (unofficial) Friday estimates. That means two things: a) Jack Reacher will have trouble reaching $18 million, unless things get surprisingly better on the weekend proper (Monday being a semi-holiday should help things on Sunday evening) b) Jack Reacher should still exceed Paramount's expectations, collecting at least $15 million, possibly up to $16.5m-17 million.
Tom Cruise's height a box office problem for Jack Reacher?
As discussed in two previous Alt Film Guide posts about Jack Reacher, a number of pundits made fun of Tom Cruise having the gall to play Jack Reacher, affirming that Cruise's height would have a negative impact on Jack Reacher's box office prospects. If the Cruise / McQuarrie collaboration fails to reach even $17-$18 million, they can say they were right. But they weren't – and wouldn't be.
If the $60 million-budgeted Jack Reacher doesn't become at least a moderate box office success in North America – and for now it does look like it will become one – that'll be chiefly because of the adult-oriented thriller's mediocre reviews: Jack Reacher has a poor 41 percent approval rating and 5.5/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Additionally, whether 5'7” or 7'7", the Scientologist Tom Cruise is still struggling to restore his image following a barrage of relentlessly vicious attacks in the American media in the last six years or so. (Check out the “negative box office effect” of “height-challenged” performers Taylor Lautner, Peter O'Toole, and – possibly – Robert Pattinson.)
Tom Cruise: International megastar
And remember, Scientology or no, Tom Cruise remains a huge star internationally. Rock of Ages – not truly a “Tom Cruise movie” – may have bombed outside North America, but Mission: Impossible III, a relative disappointment in the U.S. and Canada ($134.02 million), earned $263.82 million internationally. Also, the Robert Redford-directed Lions for Lambs earned three times more internationally ($48.21m) than in North America ($15 million), while Valkyrie grossed $117.19 million abroad vs. $83.07 million on the domestic front.
Nearly 71 percent of the worldwide box office gross of Knight and Day came from overseas – $185.5 million – while the international percentage for Mission: Impossible IV - Ghost Protocol was nearly 70 percent: $485.31 million. My point: whatever happens at the U.S. and Canada box office, expect Jack Reacher to perform much better outside North America, where moviegoers apparently care about watching Tom Cruise in action, whether playing a midget or a giant, and regardless of his religious / philosophical beliefs.
Official weekend box office estimates will be released Sunday morning. Domestic weekend box office actuals are generally released on Monday, but since that'll be Christmas Eve, we may have to wait until Wednesday.
Tom Cruise heads Jack Reacher cast
In addition to Tom Cruise in the title role, Jack Reacher features Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Nicole Forester, and Michael Raymond-James.
Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie photo: Karen Ballard / Paramount Pictures.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner's Breaking Dawn - Part 2 gone from top ten on domestic box office chart
Dec. 22, afternoon: Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 was gone from the top ten on Friday, Dec. 21, its 36th day out – a common occurrence among Twilight movies as a result of competition from Christmas releases. See below. (Image: Kristen Stewart Breaking Dawn - Part 2.)
New entries this week include Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher (which performed about 10 percent below early estimates; more on that later today), Judd Apatow / Paul Rudd / Leslie Mann's This Is 40 (which also grossed nearly 10 percent less than early estimates), the Barbra Streisand / Seth Rogen comedy The Guilt Trip (which has collected a paltry $3.52 million since Wednesday); and the 3D rerelease of Monsters, Inc. (which, with a disgraceful $2.87 million in three days, puts into question the wisdom of Disney's 3D rereleases – though figures should improve on the weekend proper).
Breaking Dawn - Part 2 vs. previous Twilight movies
According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, the Bill Condon-directed Breaking Dawn - Part 2 took in $765,000 at 2,000 theaters, placing at no. 11 on the North American box office chart, right behind new entry Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, which grossed $802,000 at 840 locations. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 currently has an estimated domestic cume of $279.71 million.
For comparison's sake: last year, Condon's Breaking Dawn - Part 1 was gone from the top ten on Day 36 as well; its cume at that time was a more modest $269.47 million. An early summer 2010 release, David Slade's Eclipse was gone from the top ten on Day 38, after falling to the no. 10 spot on Day 31 and remaining there for a week. Eclipse's cume on Day 36 was $290.18 million (approx. $292 million adjusted for inflation), or quite a bit ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
In late December 2009, Chris Weitz's New Moon was also gone from the top ten on Day 36, though it resurfaced for a few days at no. 10 in the last weekend of December. New Moon's cume on Day 36 was $278.58 million – way ahead of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 once inflation is factored in: approx. $295 million. In December 2008, Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight (which stars only Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson) disappeared from the domestic top ten box office chart on Day 35, though it resurfaced for a few days in late December and then again in early January 2009. (Breaking Dawn - Part 2 may also resurface among the top ten next week and you may find Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart on the early 2013 top ten chart as well.) Twilight's cume on Day 36 was $164.18 million (or about $181.5 million today).
Kristen Stewart-focused New Moon: Top Twilight movie at domestic box office (in ticket sales)
Curiously, Kristen Stewart is basically the sole star in the most successful (in ticket sales) Twilight movie in the U.S. and Canada: New Moon, as Robert Pattinson is gone from much of the film, while Taylor Lautner is gone from the prologue / epilogue. Now, does that mean New Moon was more successful because it was all about Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan? No, not really. One possible reason was that many who decided to check out the Twilight Saga phenomenon by paying to see Twilight movie no. 2 opted not to come back for Eclipse and the two Breaking Dawn movies. Or New Moon's stronger domestic success could have been the result of other factors altogether.
And let's not forget: Though perhaps not as obviously as in New Moon, every single Twilight movie has Kristen Stewart / Bella Swan at its center. So, variations in the films' box office performances must be due to other factors.
Anyhow, although New Moon shall remain the top Twilight movie at the domestic box office, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (not taking into account currency fluctuations) is the undisputable champ internationally: $501.4 million outside the U.S. and Canada, for a worldwide total of $781.17 million. And $800 million is definitely within reach.
Breaking Dawn - Part 2's top international markets are the United Kingdom with $55.68 million, Brazil with $47.13 million, Russia / CIS with $42.66 million, France with $36.2 million, Germany with $33.89 million, Australia with $28.9 million, Mexico with $28.36 million, Spain with $27.95 million, and Italy with $24.06 million.
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner lead Breaking Dawn - Part 2 pack
Based on the second half of Stephenie Meyer's book, Breaking Dawn - Part 2 stars Kristen Stewart as newborn vampire Bella Swan-Cullen, Robert Pattinson as the vampire Edward Cullen, and Taylor Lautner as the werewolf Jacob Black. Others are Kellan Lutz, Elizabeth Reaser, Dakota Fanning, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Jackson Rathbone, Michael Sheen, Lee Pace, Booboo Stewart, and Rami Malek.
Kristen Stewart photo: Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment.
Tom Cruise Jack Reacher box office: Acceptable no. 2?
Dec. 22, early morning: Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher in the Paramount-distributed, Christopher McQuarrie-directed film adaptation of Lee Child's novel One Shot. The studio had officially been expecting a very modest $12-$15 million over the Dec. 21-23 weekend. However, if early estimates are any indication, by Sunday evening Jack Reacher may end up collecting $17.5-18 million at 3,352 North American locations. Not great for a megastar like Tom Cruise, but perhaps enough to shut up the naysayers. (Image: Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie.)
According to early, rough estimates found at Deadline.com, the latest Tom Cruise movie earned an estimated $5.7 million on Friday, trailing only Peter Jackson's 3D-boosted The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with $10.5 million at 4,100 venues on Friday (down 73 percent compared to a week ago, which included $13 million from Thursday midnight screenings) and probably $31.5 million for the weekend. (See also: “The Hobbit Box Office: Trailing Two The Lord of the Rings Movies.”)
Jack Reacher vs. other Tom Cruise star vehicles
For comparison's sake: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the fourth installment in Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise, scored $12.78 million at only 425 locations on its debut weekend in mid-December 2011, according to Box Office Mojo. Even if Jack Reacher takes in $18 million, that'll represent a passable 5,369 per theater, whereas Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol's per-theater average was 30,083. Now, remember: all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be. And guess what, high-profile movie sequels are almost invariably much more successful than new entries, even if those are based on popular novels.
A better comparison would probably be another Tom Cruise star vehicle, Valkyrie – directed by The Usual Suspects' Bryan Singer. (Coincidentally, Jack Reacher's director is The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie's screenwriter.) Distributed by United Artists, the 75 million-budgeted Valkyrie opened with $21.02 million on Dec. 25, 2008, eventually collecting $83.07 million at the domestic box office and $200.27 million worldwide.
Jack Reacher will quite likely follow a slightly more modest trajectory, even though its opening weekend should fall short of $20 million. After all, though playing at about 600 fewer locations and having lost some steam as a result of its Thursday (Christmas Day) opening, Valkyrie had the advantage of Friday falling on Dec. 26, a (non-official) holiday for most people and one of the busiest movie days of the year.
Jack Reacher vs. This Is 40
Final comparison: Judd Apatow's This Is 40, which was reportedly tracking along the same level as Jack Reacher, will likely open with a considerably more modest $12 million at 2,912 sites, after taking in an estimated $4 million on Friday. True, This Is 40 is an R-rated comedy (vs. the PG-13 thriller Jack Reacher), but it goes to show that tracking can be – and often is – off the mark.
What? No comparisons to Rock of Ages? Nope. That wasn't a Tom Cruise star vehicle. And in all likelihood, the only reason Rock of Ages eventually cumed at $38.15 million domestically was because of people curious to see rock-and-roller Cruise. Else, the critically lambasted Adam Shankman-directed musical would probably have raked in one-tenth that amount.
Tom Cruise too short for Jack Reacher?
As mentioned in my previous box office post, some have repeatedly snickered at the 5'7” Tom Cruise playing the 6'5” Jack Reacher – going as far as to remark that Cruise's height would affect Jack Reacher's box office prospects. Yeah, much like Peter O'Toole's height affected the box office prospects of Lawrence of Arabia, and Taylor Lautner's height affected those of New Moon, Eclipse, and the two Breaking Dawn movies.
If Jack Reacher's early box office estimates are on target, the Tom Cruise putdowns will prove to be as off-target as they are both mean-spirited and absurd. And remember, Tom Cruise was widely ridiculed when it was announced he'd play the lead in the 1994 film version of Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire. That Cruise movie ended up grossing $105.26 million (not adjusted for inflation) in the U.S. and Canada.
Tom Cruise toplines Jack Reacher cast
Besides Tom Cruise in the title role, Jack Reacher features Rosamund Pike, Werner Herzog, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, Nicole Forester, and Michael Raymond-James. Christopher McQuarrie also wrote the adaptation of Lee Child's novel.
Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movie photo: Karen Ballard / Paramount Pictures.
Barbra Streisand The Guilt Trip Disappoints at North American box office
Dec. 21: Barbra Streisand in The Guilt Trip should have been a shoo-in for the Golden Globes in the Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical category. When Streisand failed to get nominated, it seemed clear that something was dead wrong with the Anne Fletcher-directed comedy co-starring Seth Rogen. (Image: Barbra Streisand The Guilt Trip.)
Perhaps it's a mere coincidence – totally unrelated to the Golden Globes, that is – but The Guilt Trip reviews have been generally pretty mediocre. Despite the presence of one of cinema's (and pop culture's) iconic figures of the late 20th century, the $40 million-budgeted mother-son comedy has a 48 percent approval rating and 5.9/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics, and grossed a measly $1.02 million at 2,431 North American locations on its Wednesday, Dec. 19, debut according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. The Guilt Trip's per-theater average was a paltry $424; in fact, the latest Barbra Streisand star vehicle will be lucky if it cracks the $10 million mark by Sunday evening.
Barbra Streisand box office magnet
Barbra Streisand used to be a box office magnet in her heyday in the '70s. Whether watchable (The Way We Were, For Pete's Sake) or bad (Funny Lady) or worse (A Star Is Born, The Main Event), her movies were nearly all – apart from the costly On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and the obscure Up the Sandbox – box office hits. Remember: A Star Is Born's $80 million domestic gross in 1976 represents approximately $300 million today, while The Main Event's $42.8 million would translate into about $135 million 2012 dollars.
Apart from one major box office misfire in the last three decades – All Night Long (which actually stars Gene Hackman) in 1981 – even after Barbra Streisand semi-retired from films in the early '80s, her sporadic appearances have all been remarkably successful. Those have ranged from showy leads (Yentl, Nuts, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and to a lesser extent The Prince of Tides) to unworthy supporting roles (Meet the Fockers, Little Fockers).
So, it's a little shocking that The Guilt Trip, Streisand's first movie lead since The Mirror Has Two Faces back in 1996, has been received so unenthusiastically by audiences. Perhaps they've been unaware the film exists, as the buzz surrounding Barbra Streisand's latest has been surprisingly muted. Or perhaps Paramount hasn't forgiven or forgotten On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and has decided it should spend its marketing moolah on Tom Cruise's Jack Reacher instead.
Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen topline The Guilt Trip cast
Besides Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as mother and son on a fateful road trip, The Guilt Trip features Adam Scott, Colin Hanks, Kathy Najimy, Dale Dickey, Miriam Margolyes, Brandon Keener, Brett Cullen, and Ari Graynor. Dan Fogelman (Cars, Cars 2, Tangled, Bolt and the live-action Crazy, Stupid, Love) wrote the screenplay.
Tom Cruise too short to play Jack Reacher?
Wrapping this up, let me add that complaints about Tom Cruise (5'7”) being too short to play the 6'5” Jack Reacher – and remarks that Cruise's height will somehow affect Jack Reacher's box office prospects – are silly at best. So, Tom Cruise would be an inappropriate Jack Reacher because of his height? Hey, how about Peter O'Toole (6'3”) playing T.E. Lawrence (5'5”) in that old (multiple-Oscar-winning) movie Lawrence of Arabia, one of the greatest blockbusters ever? Any problems? Not to mention that Taylor Lautner (supposedly 5'10”) acquitted himself quite well playing the 6'7” Jacob Black in the various Twilight movies. Would New Moon or Eclipse have earned an extra $100 million had Lautner been a few inches taller? And let's not forget that the next T.E. Lawrence will reportedly be played by Robert Pattinson (6'1”). Or that movie magic can make smaller performers look quite prepossessing on the big screen.
Directed by The Usual Suspects' screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, Jack Reacher opens on Friday, Dec. 21. Paramount is expecting a relatively modest $12-$15 million over this relatively low-key weekend.
Barbra Streisand The Guilt Trip photo: Paramount Pictures.