While “Django Unchained” carried considerable star power, there’s no doubt that the main name on the marquee was Quentin Tarantino. And that name is bigger than ever. "Django Unchained" not only nearly toppled 'The Hobbit' even though it's on less than 1000 screens, with $64 million in six days, it's the best first week opening ever for Tarantino. It’s also the strongest candidate for word-of-mouth popularity during the holidays – you’ve gotta do some coaxing to get your relatives to see a three-hour slavery western.
Though the picture seized first place at the box office on Christmas, the enthusiasm waned for “Les Miserables” as the weekend approached. Regardless, with musical theater nuts packing the crowd, the picture rings up over $67 million in its first five days. These are big, if expected, numbers for one of the biggest musicals of all time, a tidy feather in the cap of a film expected to be a big Oscar player. And overseas, the movie is doing brisk business, getting to over $115 million worldwide already. It’s certainly possible this could surpass the $414 million worldwide gross of director Tom Hooper’s last film, “The King’s Speech.”
“Jack Reacher” hung around with numbers similar to last weekend’s soft opening. There was the hope interest would kick up a bit more at this point, but that doesn’t seem to have happened, casting doubt on the franchise potential of the “Jack Reacher” brand. It’s possible 'Reacher' plateaus for a bit, with another double-digit gross next weekend, but it’s doubtful a $100 million gross is in the cards. Not a major problem for Tom Cruise, who has two more tentpoles coming up in “Oblivion” and “All You Need Is Kill” – if either of those doesn’t pan out, there’s always “Mission: Impossible V,” though given the trajectory of his career, maybe he’ll make another serious Oscar grab before he returns to that well.
“Lincoln” was the only film in the top nine to lose a substantial number of screens, dropping 327 engagements, the only film in the top ten at under 2000 locations. Somehow, the picture still improved upon last weekend’s score in its eighth week of release. That’s almost unheard of, with the Spielberg hit playing strong across the holiday season on the eve of Academy Award nominations. It’s a sure bet to hit $150 million, and it has already become the highest grossing drama of the year.
Fingers crossed for “Rise Of The Guardians” – the animated flop is about to cross $100 million domestic, a small saving grace for a picture that’s hugely disappointed thus far. Just outside of the top ten, “Skyfall” barely dropped from last weekend, and is now making a violent thrust towards $300 million (it’s at $289 million) while The Weinstein Company finally gave a strong push to “Silver Linings Playbook”: the romance jumped from 371 to 745 locations, pocketing $4.1 million for a $27 million total.
In indie theaters, it was a so-so start for "Promised Land," which popped up at twenty five locations for a $190k gross, averaging only $7.6k per-screen. The numbers were softer for doc "West Of Memphis," which grabbed only $13.9k at five theaters. The big indie winner was again "Zero Dark Thirty," which grabbed a massive $63k per-screen average at five theaters, collecting $315k and crossing the $1 million mark in only two weeks. The second weekend of "The Impossible" pulled in $185k at fifteen locations, while "Amour" grossed a strong $60k in only three engagements. Support your local arthouse theater, boys and girls.
1. The Hobbit: A Pretty Damn Likely Journey (WB) - $32.9 million ($222.7 mil.)
2. Django Unchained My Heart (The Weinstein Company) - $30.7 million ($64 mil.)
3. Lessy Missy (Universal) - $28 million ($67.4 mil.)
4. Parental Guidance (Fox) - $14.8 million ($29.6 mil.)
5. Tom Cruise Test-Drives Another Franchise (Paramount) - $14 million ($44.7 mil.)
6. This Is Sporty (Universal) - $13.1 million ($37.1 mil.)
7. Lincoln (Disney/Dreamworks) - $7.5 million ($132 mil.)
8. The Guilt Trip (Paramount) - $6.7 million ($21.1 mil.)
9. Monsters Stink 3D (Disney) - $6.3 million ($18.4 mil.)
10. Rise Of The Guardians (Paramount/Dreamworks) - $4.9 million ($90.2 mil.)