Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies pulls out with 91 million, Night of the Museum 3 and Annie trail for 2nd; Sony Pictures admits the canceling The Interview was their decision; Dalian Wanda launches theme park to take on Disney and DreamWorks

 

The Hobbits defend Middle Earth to the end! I’m Realistic Fish Head. The final movie of the Hobbit series came to a close this week as Battle of the 5 Armies stormed in and shot 91 million with arrows flying. Of what is sure to be the last journey to Middle Earth, moviegoers went to see the final chapter of the saga. There’s a horse race for 2nd as Night of the Museum 3 and Annie go neck and neck. Which movie will other moviegoers see the most Gene?

 

 

Gene:

 

Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies easily led the weekend box office with an estimated $56.22 million. The third and final chapter of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy has grossed $90.63 million through its first five days of release. On the heels of a sharper than expected percentage decline on Thursday, the film rebounded nicely over the weekend and registered a five-day to three day ratio of 1.61 to 1. The five-day debut of The Battle of the Five Armies was 11 percent below the $102.05 million five-day start of 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (which also opened on a Wednesday) and 5 percent ahead of the $86.14 million five-day start of last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (which opened on a Friday).

The Battle of the Five Armies grossed $16.58 million on Friday, increased 29 percent on Saturday to take in $21.43 million and is estimated to decline 15 percent on Sunday to gross $18.22 million. That places the film’s estimated weekend to Friday ratio at 3.39 to 1, which is obviously inflated by the film opening on a Wednesday. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies received an encouraging A- rating on CinemaScore.

IMAX grosses were responsible for $7.70 million of the film’s overall gross this weekend. Thus far The Battle of the Five Armies has grossed $13.62 million from 360 IMAX locations. That represents 15 percent of the film’s overall domestic gross. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (60 percent) and moviegoers over the age of 25 (60 percent).

It what turned out to be a closer than expected race for second, Fox’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb was able to outpace Sony’s Annie with an estimated opening weekend take of $17.3 million. The two films clearly split up the family audience this weekend and may remain close to one another throughout the rest of the holiday season. While it was able to claim second, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opened significantly below pre-release expectations. The third installment of the Ben Stiller led franchise had already been expected to see a significant drop-off from the performance of its predecessor, 2009’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (which debuted with $54.17 million in its first three days). Secret of the Tomb debuted 26 percent below the $23.24 million start of 2011’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opened with $5.63 million on Friday, increased 16 percent on Saturday to gross $6.50 million and is estimated to decrease 20 percent on Sunday to gross $5.18 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.08 to 1. Family films tend to hold up very well throughout the holiday season and that will likely be the case for Secret of the Tomb. The film received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Annie debuted in third with an estimated $16.3 million. The musical remake starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz opened towards the lower end of pre-release expectations. That is good news for Sony, especially after the events of the past week that led to the cancellation of the studio’s release of The Interview. Annie trailed Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb by just $1.0 million this weekend. Annie opened 30 percent below the $23.24 million debut of the previously mentioned Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

Annie started out with $5.3 million on Friday, increased 15 percent on Saturday to gross $6.1 million and is estimated to fall 20 percent on Sunday to gross $4.9 million. That gives the film an estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.08 to 1. Like Secret of the Tomb, Annie is likely to hold up nicely throughout the holiday season, though between the two films, it will face more direct competition from Disney’s Into the Woods starting on Christmas Day. Annie received a promising A- rating on CinemaScore, which strongly suggests that the film is going over much better with audiences than it has with critics.

Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings landed in fourth with an estimated $8.07 million. The pricey Ridley Scott directed biblical epic starring Christian Bale was down a very sharp 67 percent from last weekend’s debut. Poor reviews, mixed word of mouth and direct competition from The Battle of the Five Armies are all clearly taking a toll on the film. Exodus: Gods and Kings has grossed a soft $38.90 million in ten days. That places the film 7 percent behind the $41.87 million ten-day take of Son of God earlier this year.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 followed closely behind in fifth with an estimated $7.75 million. The third installment of Lionsgate’s blockbuster franchise was down a solid 39 percent from last weekend.  Mockingjay – Part 1 has grossed $289.23 million in 31 days, which leaves it just $10.77 million away from becoming the second release of 2014 to reach the $300 million domestic milestone.

In its first weekend of wide release Fox Searchlight’s Wild took in an estimated $4.15 million to place in sixth. The critically acclaimed drama starring Reese Witherspoon claimed a per-location average of $3,911 from 1,061 locations. Wild has grossed $7.21 million in 19 days of release.

 

 

To recap, Hobbit: Battle of The 5 Armies defend Middle Earth 1st, Night of the Museum 3 battles to keep their magic in 2nd, Annie dances in 3rd, Exodus keeps batting in 4th, and Mocking Jay Part 1 prepares to go to the next level in 5th.

 

 

During the last few days Sony Pictures has suffered a major whiplash in the hack attack in which the FBI found North Korea as the culprit which they’ve condone it. President Obama had some harsh words for the company in Thursday’s news conference telling them that shelving The Interview was a definite mistake. How did Sony Pictures respond Johnny?

 

Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- After President Obama criticized Sony for its decision to cancel The Interview’s release after theater chains decided not to show the film, the studio has issued a statement elaborating on the move.

“The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film,” the statement said. “This was their decision.”

A source tells The Hollywood Reporter that Sony was surprised by the president’s comments and did, in fact, have many conversations with the White House both before and after the movie was pulled Wednesday. That would fly in the face of President Obama’s claim that the studio never approached him for advice on how to handle the threats of violence that invoked the 9/11 terror attacks. Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton taped an interview with CNN on Friday, and part of it was aired that reaffirmed the studio had been in contact with the White House.

“We definitely spoke to senior advisers or a senior adviser in the White House to discuss the situation,” Lynton said in the interview with CNN, adding that although he didn’t directly talk to President Obama himself, “the White House was certainly aware of the situation.”

During his press conference Friday, the president said he wished the studio would have “spoken to me first. I would have told them ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you are intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.’ ” The source insists to THR that the studio engaged in multiple conversations with the White House; however, they were not directly with the president but were with his staff.

In the press conference, Obama had sharp words for the studio. “Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake,” the president said.

The FBI confirmed earlier in the day the link between the hacking group that calls itself Guardians of Peace and the North Korean regime. The “North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” the agency said of the attack, which was first noticed by the studio Nov. 24 but was likely carried out well before.

Salaries, personal data, movie budgets and more than 12,000 messages from Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal’s email inbox were leaked.

Prior to the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview, which featured the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, hackers sent threatening messages to Sony invoking the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Sony allowed theater chains to make the decision to show the film or not, and major theater chains decided against showing the film.

Sony’s full statement reads:

Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.

Let us be clear — the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.

 

 

From my perspective folks, Sony Pictures and its exes not only put themselves in danger, they’ve threatened to put every movie company in Hollywood at risk because of this humiliation too. Looks like things won’t go well for them in the new year unless they get major help and support and fast! We’ll keep an eye on them in 2015 to see if there’s any progress made.

 

 

Disney and DreamWorks theme parks have entertained park goers since their theme park costs went up. But now one group’s planning to take down both attractions. Which group’s behind this Danny?

 

Danny Angelfish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Dalian Wanda Group, China’s biggest real estate company and the world’s largest cinema owner, has officially launched its $1.13 billion movie theme park in the central city of Wuhan, part of its strategy to take on Disney and DreamWorks in the domestic market.

Wanda, which owns the AMC cinema chain, is keen to become a major player in the entertainment business, and is rumored to be considering moving for a Hollywood studio stake, with Lionsgate often mentioned.

Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin officially inaugurated the Han Show Theatre and the Wanda Movie Theme Park at a ceremony in Wuhan. It says it will be the first indoor theme park in the world.

“The Han Show and Wanda Movie Park are first of a kind, unique projects which will undoubtedly become new symbols of Chinese culture as well as leading new global entertainment brands,” Wang said at the opening in Wuhan.

Wanda is planning to spend over $32 billion on a series of theme parks and entertainment facilities, including over 200 children’s theme parks by 2020. The plans are focused on the company’s vast real estate holdings in China.

Wanda will invest $8 billion to build a cultural tourism project in Guangzhou, which on completion would generate annual revenue of $800 million and compete with Disneyland in Hong Kong, while another park in Wuxi in Jiangsu province will compete with Shanghai Disneyland, the first Disney park on the Chinese mainland, which is scheduled to open in the city’s Pudong district at the end of next year.

In March, DreamWorks Animation and its Chinese partners unveiled designs for a $2.4 billion entertainment complex, also in Shanghai, while NBC Universal is building a $2.5 billion Universal theme park in the suburbs of Beijing.

Among the dignitaries taking part in the launch were former US ambassador Gary Locke and Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who as well as being a film director is also famous for events such as the Olympics opening ceremony in 2008 in Beijing.

The Han Show was designed by architect Mark Fisher and directed by Franco Dragone. Among the attractions at the Wanda Movie Theme Park are Ultimate Energy, a 5D theater that integrates 3D projection, live actors, props, stunts and special effects into one ride, transporting guests into the future to a time when man is at war with machines.

 

 

While everyone’s getting ready for SpongeBob Movie 2 next year, let’s check how Team Skipper’s doing.

 

 

Checking the Penguins tally, 1,988 fans sign in as help from Night Museum 3 and Annie arrive to help the team. But for how long? We’ll find out soon enough!

 

 

Christmas week has finally arrived in the toon world with the last few days left until Santa’s arrival! Be sure to to se your favorite shows before they take a break! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, enjoy the last jolly days until then!

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