Tags: Time-Warner | MGM | Hobbit | Box-Office

Time-Warner, MGM's 'Hobbit' Sequel Leads Box Office

Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 01:21 PM

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy, collected $73.7 million in its opening weekend for Time Warner Inc. and MGM Holdings Inc. to lead U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

The film lagged behind its predecessor, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opened with $84.6 million a year ago, Rentrak Corp. said in an e-mailed statement Sunday. “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” the eighth installment in the comedy series, collected $16 million in third place for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.

“The Desolation of Smaug” Jackson’s fifth film based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, adds to Time Warner’s box-office lead among studios as the end of 2013 approaches. Together, the first “Hobbit” and three “Lord of the Rings” movies from 2001 to 2003 generated more than $3.9 billion in global box-office sales.

“The magic is still there for the ‘Hobbit’ and the franchise,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “It will put a lot of additional dollars toward Warner Bros.’s market share.”

“The Desolation of Smaug” was projected to collect $80 million, according to researcher BoxOffice.com, and may take in $280 million in its entire domestic run.

“An Unexpected Journey” generated $303 million in U.S. theaters and went on to do $1.02 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

“The market place is little bit more crowded this time and that’s going to hurt it,” said Phil Contrino, chief analyst for BoxOffice.com.

Bilbo Baggins

Besides “Madea” and holdovers “Frozen,” from Walt Disney Co., and Lions Gate’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” two movies that opened in a handful of theaters will be released widely next weekend: Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” and “American Hustle,” from Sony Corp.

In “The Desolation of Smaug,” Martin Freeman returns as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. Ian McKellen reprises Gandalf, the wizard he portrayed in the first Hobbit film and the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The movie picks up where the last one ended, with Baggins, Gandalf and their dwarf friends continuing the quest to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

RottenTomatoes.com, a website that aggregates reviews, gives the film a 74 percent positive rating, an improvement over the 65 percent rating earned by “An Unexpected Journey.

“Although ‘Smaug’ is not quite as golden as the best of ‘The Rings,’ the film is infused with an eccentricity and electricity that keep most of its nearly three hours humming,” Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey wrote.

Extra Revenue

The highest-grossing film of Jackson’s franchise is 2003’s “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which collected $377 million domestically and $1.13 billion worldwide.

“The Desolation of Smaug” is showing in as many as 3,300 theaters that offer 3-D, more than 300 of them premium large- format theaters. Warner Bros., the distributor, and two of the largest North American theater chains, Regal Entertainment Group and Cineplex Inc., are squeezing out extra revenue with so- called super tickets that offer reclining and reserved seating and with better sound.

“Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” the only other film to open in wide release, was projected by BoxOffice.com to take in $33 million for Lions Gate. The holiday comedy was directed, written and produced by Perry, who also stars as the main character in drag, Mabel “Madea” Simmons.

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"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second film in Peter Jackson's trilogy, collected $73.7 million in its opening weekend for Time Warner Inc. and MGM Holdings Inc. to lead U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.
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Sunday, 15 Dec 2013 01:21 PM
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