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A crowded Christmas helped push Hollywood to a new record at the domestic box office with an end-of-year tally of $10.9 billion, up roughly 1 percent from the record $10.8 billion earned in 2012.
But the jam-packed slate of Christmas films caused several movies starring big names to bomb at the box office while Frozen and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took the top spots.
The pop star enjoyed strong success with his first concert doc, Never Say Never, which opened to $29.5 million in North America in February 2011 and went on to post a lifetime domestic gross of $73 million, making it the most successful concert film of all time domestically. But his second outing, Believe, hardly sang the same tune after opening on Christmas Day. The Open Road Films movie opened to only $2 million ($4.3 million for the five-day) for the No. 14 spot over the Christmas holiday. Even Bieber’s eleventh-hour announcement on Twitter that he would be retiring couldn’t get his fans into theaters (he quickly deleted the tweet). Box-office observers speculate that moms are keeping their younger kids away from the film, considering Bieber’s string of headline-making antics in recent months (when Never Say Never came out, his image was still squeaky clean). While some did show up for Believe, they simply didn’t make up enough of an audience. Open Road insists the $5 million concert film will be profitable.
Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro
Grudge Match, starring iconic actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro as two rival fighters who reunite for one last bout, was a dud at the domestic box office after opening on Dec. 25. The Warner Bros. boxing comedy, costing as much as $40 million to produce, grossed $7 million ($13.1 million five-day) to come in No. 11 for the holiday weekend. The film caps off a soft year for both actors. Stallone’s other 2013 movies — Escape Plan and Bullet to the Head — both had poor showings at the North American box office when they opened in October and February, respectively. De Niro’s ensemble pic Last Vegas, also starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline, was a strong hit ($89.5 million worldwide) for CBS Films, but the actor’s other movies — The Family ($36.9 million to date) and The Big Wedding ($21.8 million to date) — both faltered at the domestic box office. Regarding Grudge Match, box-office observers say audiences simply weren’t excited at the thought of a Rocky-like sequel.
Reeves is the star of 47 Ronin, which also opened on Christmas Day. But the long-delayed samurai action pic — costing $175 million to make — fell flat at the Christmas box office, resulting in a sizeable loss for Universal. It opened No. 9 domestically over the holiday with just $9.9 million ($20.6 million five-day). According to sources, Universal knew for quite some time that the pic was in trouble and wrote down the film over the course of the last year. The Matrix actor starred in only one other film this year — his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi — which has earned a soft $4.2 million in China to date and was released by RADiUS, The Weinstein Co.’s boutique label, in September.
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