As expected, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ruled the box office this weekend. The second film in his The Hobbit trilogy opened number one everywhere this weekend, and the film looks set to be another $1 billion success.
However, Smaug bucked the usual trend for sequels and opened slightly less than its record breaking predecessor. At this time last year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened in top place in the US with $84.7 million, breaking the December opening weekend record. However, considering the higher priced 3D tickets, An Unexpected Journey was expected to achieve nearer to $95 million, and while in no way a failure, it was considered a slight disappointment. Journey ruled the rest of December, and easily went on the achieve a whopping $1.07 billion worldwide. The Desolation of Smaug is expected to do the same.
However, Smaug opened slightly less than Journey, and in the US the film opened with 73.7 million, almost $10 million less than the first film. This bucks the trend of sequels usually being more successful than their predecessors, but Smaug is still expected to pass the $1 billion mark worldwide. The film opened in top place outside the US, and has so far brought in a worldwide haul of $131.2 million.
While the US opened less than the first film, Smaug is expected to do huge business worldwide, as Journey last year brought in a whopping $700 million from sales outside the US. Naturally, this year much of the same is expected. However, the US numbers are expected to improve as a major storm which hit most of the East Coast on Saturday kept movie goers indoors.
“We probably lost a couple of million there,” said distribution chief Dan Fellman of Warner Bros., which produced the film along with New Line and MGM. “But we hung in there and obviously we’re very pleased with this showing. It’s looking even stronger internationally, so we think we’ve got another billion-dollar movie.”
As of Sunday, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is expected to have taken $205 million worldwide, which is definitely a success story in my eyes. However, last year An Unexpected Journey had the box office all to itself, with only Life of Pi giving it any sort of competition. But this year The Desolation of Smaug has to contend with Anchorman 2 which opens on Wednesday (and which is expected to smash the first films $28.4 million in the US), and also The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (which I have a sneaky suspicion will be huge due to the feel good factor) which opens on Boxing Day.
Whatever happens, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is guaranteed to pass the $1 billion mark eventually, and no doubt the same time next year when There & Back Again is released, we will see much of the same.
Here is the US box office top ten in full:
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$73,675,000$73.7
3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas$16,000,000$16
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire$13,150,000$356.9
5. Thor: The Dark World$2,700,000$198.1
6. Out of the Furnace$2,320,000$9.4
7. Delivery Man$1,872,000$27.9
9. The Book Thief$1,675,000$14.8