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Box Office Top 13: Holiday Business Spreads the Wealth, Led by 'Hobbit' and 'Wolf of Wall Street,' '47 Ronin' Flops (CHART)

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood December 27, 2013 at 3:57PM

A wide swath of movies shared the Christmas wealth this year. The box office took a distinctively different turn from 2012, when two new wide releases initially dominated the initial business. This year's holdover "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (Warner Bros.) led both Wednesday and Thursday, unlike last year, when the first "Hobbit" placed third for those two days, behind both "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained," which grossed $30 and $25 million respectively. No film grossed as much this year -- "The Hobbit" this time around did $19.8 million.
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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

#6 - "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (Twentieth Century Fox) - $12.6 million in 2 days

The 39% fall for the second day (this opened Wednesday) and overall ranking suggests that Ben Stiller's comedy will struggle to earn back its $91-million budget, although the five-day take could be ahead of expectations. Last year, "Parental Guidance" did $10.6 million in two days and ended up with $77 million, so this still could end up higher domestic with upbeat word of mouth-- if it can outlast other new films. Both the most recent "Fockers" and "Night at the Museum" films grossed more international than domestic -- this could play better internationally, as did Fox's "Life of Pi" -- so if it scores $90 million domestic and $110 international, with additional later revenues, at best it can break even. This was certainly not anyone's intention.

#7 - "47 Ronin" (Universal) - $10.7 million in 2 days

The first day was a surprise for this long-delayed Keanu Reeves martial arts epic (that cost a reported $175 million), but whatever that might have raised was dashed with the 48% drop Thursday. As anticipated, this will be an expensive write-off for Universal and probably cost outgoing chairman Adam Fogelson his job.

#8 - "Saving Mr. Banks" (Buena Vista) - $9.8 million in 2 days

In only 2,110 theaters, this only fell 9% yesterday, as Disney's strategy of getting this open early to generate word of mouth seems to be paying off so far. Expect this to be around for a while and gross much more than its $24 million so far.

#9 - "Grudge Match" (Warner Bros.) - $6.1 million in 2 days

It started off as the weakest of the wide Christmas Day openings, and the 46% drop yesterday means this won't last much beyond its second week.

#10 - "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (Lionsgate) - $5.5 million in 2 days

Both impressive and significant, holding at 2,300 theaters and jumping 20% yesterday, "Catching Fire" now seems likely to end up just about even with "Iron Man 3" as the top domestic 2013 release (it is $28 million behind at the moment).

#11 - "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas" (Lionsgate) - $5.2 million in 2 days

#12 - "Walking With Dinosaurs" (20th Century-Fox) - $3.8 million in 2 days

#13 - "Justin Bieber's Believe" (Open Road) - $2.3 million in 2 days

"Dinosaurs" had a kids' generated jump of 24% yesterday, but too little to late for this 3-D flop. "Believe" was in only just over 1,000 theaters, but it still was very weak (his 2011 concert film ended up grossing $73 million; this won't do $10 million). "Madea" will struggle to hit $50 million, below par for Tyler Perry. And Weinstein's commitment to "Mandela" is falling short, at #14 with $2.2 million (estimated) in 2 days in 975 theaters.

Christmas Box Office Chart 2013

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Box Office Top Ten, The Wolf of Wall Street , The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.