Box Office: 'Hobbit 2' No. 1 Post-Christmas; '47 Ronin,' Bieber Doc Bombing
"Frozen" -- soaring to No. 2 -- enjoys the biggest boost on Thursday as kids return to the multiplex; Paramount takes the next two spots on the box-office chart with "Anchorman 2" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Universal's ill-fated 47 Ronin and Justin Bieber concert pic Believe are suffering a bad case of the holiday blues at the North American box office, while Warner Bros.' Grudge Match, starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, needs to pick up the pace quickly unless it wants to suffer the same fate.
47 Ronin -- costing at least $175 million to make -- placed No. 8 on Thursday with $3.7 million for a troubled two-day total of $10.7 million. Believe only took in $1 million, coming in No. 13 for a two-day total of $2.3 million. Grudge Match also fell outside the top 10, coming in No. 11 with $2.2 million for a two-day cume of $6.3 million.
Topping Thursday were three films with all-audience appeal. Warner Bros.' The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug stayed at No. 1 with a hearty $10.5 million, pushing its domestic total to $160.5 million as it raced past the $500 million mark worldwide. Peter Jackson's tentpole has earned north of $340 million internationally.
In North America, Desolation of Smaug jumped 13 percent from Christmas Day to Thursday, while Disney's unstoppable Frozen soared 44 percent to $9.1 million, putting it at No. 2. Frozen, sporting a domestic total of $219.5 million, was expected to surge on Thursday as kids became available.
Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues likewise remained a crowd pleaser, falling just 9 percent from Wednesday to Thursday. From Paramount, the sequel placed No. 3, grossing $7.4 million for a domestic total of $63.5 million. By Sunday, Anchorman 2 should have eclipsed the $85.3 million earned by the first film in its entire North American run.
Martin Scorsese's sex-laced The Wolf of Wall Street came in No. 4 with $6.6 million for a two-day total of $15.8 million. Fully financed for $100 million by Red Granite Pictures, Wolf stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Wall Street bad boy Jordan Belfort. The movie fell a respectable 27 percent from Christmas Day.
Paramount is releasing and marketing Wolf of Wall Street, which barely received an R rating (Scorsese agreed to trim certain sex scenes in order to avoid getting slapped with an NC-17). The big question is whether the movie, expected to do especially well on both coasts, will play in America's heartland (the film's C CinemaScore could be an indication of the split). Sporting a running time of two hours and 59 minutes, Wolf marks Scorsese's longest film by a minute, topping Casino.
Wolf is among a crowded menu of award contenders using the year-end holiday to boost their profile, and was followed closely on Thursday by David O. Russell's holdover American Hustle, which took in an estimated $6.4 million. The Sony film has now earned $40.5 million, and could stay neck and neck with Wolf throughout the weekend.
20th Century Fox's awards entry The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, placed No. 6 with $4.8 million for a two-day total of $12.6 million. Disney's holdover Saving Mr. Banks nearly tied with Mitty, taking in $4.7 million for a domestic total of $23.7 million.
47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves, is destined to lose a substantial amount of money, considering it needs to earn hundreds of millions of dollars globally. The movie, originally set to open in November 2012, is off to a soft start overseas, where it has grossed $12.8 million. Especially problematic was a poor showing in Japan.
Universal has known the film was troubled financially for quite some time and says it has already accounted for a potential loss. "Universal Pictures regularly evaluates its film slate for potential adjustment. In the case of 47 Ronin, we adjusted film costs in previous quarters and as a result our financial performance will not be negatively impacted this quarter by its theatrical performance," the studio said in a statement.
Bieber's Believe is lagging far behind the performer's 2011 concert doc Never Day Never, which debuted in more than 3,000 theaters to a strong $29.5 million.
Believe, costing $5 million to make, is getting a low-key release and is only playing in roughly 1,000 theaters. Distributor Open Road Films also kept its marketing spend to a modest $5 million.