There’s a running joke among my pals that I can’t predict a movie’s gross take if my life depended upon it. You see, once upon a time, I foolishly thought that the crazily ambitious, and wonderfully looking, Speed Racer film, directed by cinematic visionaries, The Wachowski Brothers, was going to rake in over $125 million in its premiere weekend! The trailers looked amazing! The poster was phenomenal! It was a “can’t miss” event, I told everyone and anyone who’d listen.
I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong.
Speed Racer did a big fat belly-flop that opening weekend, grossing only $18.5 million and getting critically panned by everyone and their pet chimp. Hell, even I still haven’t seen it.
And that brings us to Friday, December 14, 2012 – a date that every wannabe Nostradamus and every film studio not named New Line or MGM or WingNut fear. And it’s got nothing to do with the Mayan calendar ending. No, there are bigger machinations at work today. There’s only one film being released that needs talking about. One film to rule them all, and that film is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Check out my revisited attempt at box-office prophecies after the jump!
If I’m comparing the potential weekend take of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to any other film this year, it would have to be The Avengers. That superhero movie had years of pent-up demand and a bunch of Hollywood A-listers going for it. The Hobbit has the memory of the Lord of the Rings franchise and an even more epic scope. There’s lots of demographic cross-over potential as the book is much more a children’s story than the three LOTR novels. Parents will be taking their kids to see it. Still, with its long running time, and its cast of relatively unknowns, I don’t think The Hobbit will take in Avengers kind of money. Premiering in over 4000 theatres this weekend in seven different formats including IMAX 3D, HFR 3D, regular 2D or some combination thereof (our article earlier this week can help you decide where and how you should see the film), I’m going to say that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will pull in a “small” Smaug’s horde of $125.5 million this weekend. Not bad at all. Look for each sequel to progressively make more.
It’s just a feeling, not much in terms of empirical evidence or number crunching. But that’s the way us cinematic prophets roll.
In terms of other films out in theatres this weekend, I think you’ll see Lincoln get a boost from having been nominated with seven Golden Globe Awards including: Best Drama, Best Director and Best Actor in Daniel Day-Lewis. The same goes for Life of Pi, also receiving Best Drama and Best Director Golden Globe nominations. The take for Rise of the Guardians should stay fairly healthy because of the holiday season, but I expect that The Hobbit will nibble away at its target demographic. Skyfall should continue to fall as its audience has pretty much already seen the film.
Two new movies, foolish enough to be released alongside The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will get an old-fashioned Orc-cleave right through their silver screen. Expect to hear about the romcom, Save the Date (starring Community’s Alison Brie), and the drama, Any Day Now (starring the always wonderful Alan Cumming), in this sentence only.
So, then, here are my predictions for this coming weekend:
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: $125.5 million
Lincoln: $6.5 million
Rise of the Guardians: $5.5 million
Life of Pi: $5.0 million
Skyfall: $5.0 million
Dante wrote about prophecy, and what happens to those who practice it, in his Inferno. Check back on Sunday to see how I made out! Until then, see you in the sixth circle of hell, otherwise known as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey popcorn line-up!