'The Hobbit 2' box office: Domestic disappointment?
Dec. 27 update: Two weekends ago, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (a.k.a. The Hobbit 2) opened way below expectations in the United States and Canada. Yet The Hobbit 2 is hanging in there.
Chiefly because Will Ferrell's comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues underperformed on its domestic debut, The Hobbit 2 topped the North American box office last weekend.
Chiefly because Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio's collaboration The Wolf of Wall Street debuted with a relatively modest $9.15 million, The Hobbit 2 topped the North American Christmas box office two days ago.
And chiefly because there's no strong competition out there, The Hobbit 2 is expected to top the North American box office once again this weekend, Dec. 27–29.
Budgeted at anywhere between $150–$190 million (depending on the source; see further below) – and that's not including another $100 million or so in marketing and distribution costs – The Hobbit 2 has to date collected $160.46 million in the U.S. and Canada according to figures found at Boxofficemojo.com.
The good news for distributor Warner Bros., and producing companies Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, New Line Cinema, and WingNut Films is that the sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is, as expected, performing remarkably well internationally. According to studio estimates, yesterday, Dec. 26, the film surpassed the $500 million milestone worldwide.
On the domestic front, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will get close to the $200 million milestone by Sunday evening, after collecting around $30 million this weekend.
Second 2013 movie to top domestic box office chart on three consecutive (three-day) weekends
It's all but inevitable that The Hobbit 2 will top the North American box office chart for the third consecutive weekend as its two major competitors – Anchorman 2 and The Wolf of Wall Street – are both expected to gross somewhere around $20 million. Thus, The Hobbit 2 is about to become only the second 2013 release to achieve that feat, following the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney space drama Gravity.
Jan. 3 update: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug raked in $29.03 million over the Dec. 27–29 weekend, easily beating Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues ($19.66 million) and The Wolf of Wall Street ($18.36 million) – while only slightly ahead of Disney's Frozen ($28.59 million, up 46 percent from the previous weekend).
The Hobbit 2's domestic box office total: $189.5 million.
Note: The Vin Diesel-Paul Walker actioner Fast and Furious 6 topped only two weekends. It's listed three times on Box Office Mojo's 2013 chart because there are two listings (three-day, four-day) for the Memorial Day weekend.
Note Pt. 2: Lee Daniels' The Butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, topped only two three-day weekends in a row. However, if one includes the four-day Labor Day weekend, The Butler would join Gravity and The Hobbit 2 as 2013's three-consecutive-weekend toppers. (On Labor Day weekend, the three-day winner was One Direction: This is Us.)
Final tally: 'The Hobbit 2' behind predecessor
Spring 2014 update: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a.k.a. The Hobbit 2 ended up with $258.66 million at the U.S. and Canada box office – thus far behind its predecessor, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which took in $303 million.
In case international figures are complete, the sequel – somewhat surprisingly – also trailed the original Hobbit outside North America: an estimated $700 million vs. $718.1 million.
And that's how The Hobbit 2 failed to crack the $1 billion mark worldwide, cuming at $958.3 million.
The third and final Hobbit movie, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, opens in December 2014. (Update: The final Hobbit film has been retitled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.)
See also: “The Hobbit 1: Domestic Blockbuster or Box Office Disappointment?”
'The Hobbit' movies budget
Shot concurrently, Peter Jackson's three The Hobbit movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – cost a reported $676 million New Zealand dollars, or US$567 million according to October 2013 exchange rates.
In case the report is on target, each movie cost around $187 million, not including marketing and distribution expenses that could easily top $100 million per film.
Martin Freeman toplines 'The Hobbit 2' cast
The Hobbit 2's extensive cast features the following:
John Bell. James Nesbitt. Stephen Hunter. Dean O'Gorman. Mark Hadlow. John Callen. Peter Hambleton.
Adam Brown. Aidan Turner. Jed Brophy. Luke Evans. Sylvester McCoy. Jeffrey Thomas.
'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' box office: Will Ferrell comedy disappoints, trails 'The Hobbit 2'
Dec. 21 update: Some pundits had been expecting Will Ferrell's sequel to his “classic” (between quotes) 2004 comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to reach a $50–60 million cume at the North American box office by Sunday evening, Dec. 22, its fifth day out.
However, the way things are going, chances are Anchorman 2, currently at 3,507 theaters, will collect a considerably less legendary amount after taking in a solid – though hardly outstanding – $8.7 million on Friday, Dec. 20.
Reportedly budgeted at $50 million, or about 60 percent costlier than the 2004 original once adjusted for inflation (actual cost: $26 million; adjusted: approximately $32 million) the Paramount-distributed Anchorman 2 is now expected to earn around $27–28 million before the next-to-last weekend of 2013 is over, thus trailing Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is expected to score about $31 million.
If these estimates are on target, the Anchorman sequel's five-day total will hover around $40–41 million.
Dec. 23 update: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues pulled in $26.23 million on the Dec. 20–22 weekend, averaging a just okay $7,480 per site. Domestic total to date: $39.45 million.
'Anchorman 1' vs. 'Anchorman 2' box office comparison
For comparison's sake: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which opened on a Friday in early July 2004, brought in $28.41 million from 3,091 venues on its first weekend out, in addition to an extra $8.04 million in the ensuing two days, for a five-day total of $32.7 million.
So, that means Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is way ahead of its predecessor, right?
Adjusted for inflation, as box office figures should always be, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy scored approximately $47 million in its first five days out. In other words, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – at least for the time being – is turning out to be a domestic box office comedown when compared to the first film.
International hit-in-the-making? Not so fast
The good news for Paramount is that Anchorman 2 has reportedly grossed more on one day at the international box office than the original did throughout its entire run. (The weekend total, from six markets, was $13.4 million.)
The not so good news: in case these reports are relying on Box Office Mojo's (incomplete) data, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy's international cume was an absurdly low $5.28 million, more than 80 percent of which from two countries, the United Kingdom and Australia. In other words: to surpass such a dismal figure is a very small feat indeed.
'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continue's vs. 'Little Fockers'
Here's another Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues box office comparison:
Starring Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Blythe Danner, and Teri Polo, Paul Weitz's Little Fockers opened three years ago – on a Wednesday, Dec. 22. The five-day cume of the sequel to Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers was $45.08 million (just slightly more when adjusted for inflation).
Little Fockers ultimately cumed at $148.43 million in the U.S. and Canada, in addition to $162.21 million internationally, as per figures found at Box Office Mojo.
In North America, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy cumed at $85.28 million, or about $111 million in 2013 dollars. So, in case Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues follows the Little Fockers box office trail, there's hope that it'll eventually outgross its predecessor.
And that means Paramount's and Will Ferrell's over-the-top marketing blitz will have been worth it. (And let's not forget all those ancillary revenues.)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has a 71 percent approval rating and – a less impressive – 6.2/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.
Will Ferrell's biggest hit in years
Spring 2014 update: Despite a none too impressive start, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues went on to gross $127.35 million at the domestic box office, easily outpacing Anchorman's cume ($85.28 million), even when adjusted for inflation (approx. $111 million).
Ignoring higher ticket prices, Anchorman 2 has thus become Will Ferrell's biggest domestic live-action hit since Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which took in $148.21 million in 2006.
Adjusting for inflation, Anchorman 2 is Ferrell's biggest domestic live-action hit since Blades of Glory, which pulled in $118.59 million in 2007, or about $140 million in 2013.
Internationally, Anchorman 2 scored $46.29 million (possibly an incomplete tally), largely thanks to the same two English-language markets that, however modestly, had also gone for the original: the U.K. ($23.47 million vs. $2.97 million for Anchorman) and Australia ($15.8 million vs. $1.66 million).
'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continue's cast
For Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Adam McKay was back as director, while McKay and Will Ferrell were back as the film's credited screenwriters.
Besides Will Ferrell, Anchorman 2 features several of the original film's cast members, including Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Fred Willard.
Additionally, in either supporting roles or cameos, Anchorman 2 features the following:
Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets, 1997).
Amy Poehler. Sacha Baron Cohen. Vince Vaughn. Wilbur Fitzgerald. John C. Reilly. Jim Carrey. Kanye West.
Images of an angry orc & Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug a.k.a. The Hobbit 2: Warner Bros.
Ron Burgundy a.k.a. Will Ferrell Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues image: Paramount Pictures.
“The Hobbit 2 Box Office: Trailing Predecessor + Will Ferrell Anchorman 2 Bigger or Smaller?” last updated in July 2018.