Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies rolls into 3rd weekend with 22 million, Woman in Black 2 hits high marks with 16 million; Action, romance, fantasy, and drama from Disney, Marvel, Paramount, and Fox dominate 2014 box office; Pharrell Williams records “Squeeze Me for SpongeBob Movie 2: Sponge Out of Water

 

The Hobbits go for 3. Gene Scallop here on the Hobbit movie finale edition of Gene Scallop’s box office report. Here’s what’s topping the box office this week!

 

When last we left our hero Bilbo Baggins in the box office, he and his fellow friends marched toward their 2nd week with 41 million smackers. This week, the battle continued as Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies added 22 million smackers to their stacked collection of box office gold. Let’s check out what other flicks matched the Hobbits’ prowess:

 

Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies took in an estimated $21.91 million this weekend to lead the weekend box office for a third consecutive frame. The third and final installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy was down a significant 46 percent from last weekend. All previous Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films have experienced declines in the 40 percent to 49 percent range the weekend after New Year’s and that tend held up for The Battle of the Five Armies. The film surpassed the $200 million domestic mark this weekend and has grossed $220.77 million in 19 days. That places The Battle of the Five Armies 9.5 percent ahead of the $201.54 million 19-day take of last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 7 percent behind the $238.00 million 19-day gross of 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Disney’s Into the Woods remained in second place this weekend with an estimated $19.07 million. The modestly budgeted Rob Marshall directed musical featuring Meryl Streep was down 39 percent from last weekend. Into the Woods has grossed a strong $91.21 million in eleven days. That places the film 7 percent ahead of the $85.54 million eleven-day gross of 2008’s Bedtime Stories and a slim 1 percent behind the $92.48 million eleven-day take of 2012’s Les Misérables. Into the Woods continued to run neck and neck with Universal’s Unbroken this weekend and the two films are currently separated by just $3.40 million thus far.

Unbroken placed in third with an estimated $18.4 million. The Angelina Jolie directed war drama was down a respectable 40 percent from last weekend. While Unbroken has shown some relative front-loading thus far, in the bigger picture the film has grossed a significantly stronger than expected $87.81 million in eleven days thanks in part to its very strong Christmas weekend start. Unbroken is running 11 percent ahead of the $79.29 million eleven-day take of 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 5 percent behind the $92.45 million eleven-day gross of 2012’s Django Unchained.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death debuted in fourth place with a surprisingly strong estimated start of $15.15 million. The PG-13 rated horror sequel from Relativity exceeded expectations, which had been muted in part from soft pre-release online activity heading into the weekend. The film’s debut was especially good news for Relativity given that the film was an inexpensive acquisition for the distributor. Early January is historically a good time to release horror films and that certainty was the case for The Woman in Black 2. The film opened 27 percent below the $20.87 million start of 2012’s The Woman in Black (a CBS Films release), which was quite respectable given that The Woman in Black 2 doesn’t feature Daniel Radcliffe.

Fox’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb claimed fifth place with an estimated $14.45 million. The third installment of the Ben Stiller led franchise continued to display impressive holding power as it was down just 28 percent from last weekend. Secret of the Tomb has grossed $89.73 million in 17 days. That places the film 3 percent behind the $92.73 million 17-day gross of 2011’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. The current total gross to opening weekend ratio for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb already stands at 5.25 to 1.

Annie placed in sixth with an estimated $11.4 million. Sony’s musical remake starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz also held up nicely this weekend as it fell 31 percent from last weekend. Annie has grossed a very solid $72.63 million in 17 days. That gives the film a current total gross to opening weekend ratio of 4.58 to 1. Annie is running 22 percent behind the 17-day take of the mentioned Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

The Imitation Game continued to impress in moderate release with an estimated seventh place take of $8.11 million from 754 locations. That gave the awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company a per-location average of $10,757 for the frame, which easily represented the weekend’s strongest location average for films in the top ten. The Imitation Game has grossed $30.78 million to date and appears to be in great shape for a lengthy box office run, especially when considering it was up 2 percent over last weekend without the aid of a major expansion this weekend.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 finished in eighth with an estimated $7.7 million. The third installment of Lionsgate’s blockbuster franchise was down a very healthy 23 percent from last weekend.  Mockingjay – Part 1 is currently the second highest grossing release of 2014 domestically with a 45-day take of $323.87 million. That leaves the film just $9.10 million away from the current $332.97 million total gross of Guardians of the Galaxy (through Thursday).

Paramount’s Selma and Warner’s American Sniper both continued to impress on the platform front with respective estimated weekend takes of $645,000 and $640,000. Selma claimed a per-location average of $29,318 from 22 locations, while American Sniper generated a massive per-location average of $160,000 from 4 locations. Respective eleven-day totals for the awards season hopefuls stand at $2.08 million for Selma and at $2.19 million for American Sniper. Selma will be expanding into nationwide release this coming Friday, while American Sniper will receive a nationwide expansion on January 16.

Elsewhere on the platform front, A24’s A Most Violent Year was off to a promising start with an estimated $188,000 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles. That gave the awards season hopeful starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain a per-location average of $47,000 for the frame. The film, which opened on Wednesday, has grossed $300,000 in its first five days of release. A Most Violent Year is scheduled to be expanded throughout January, before receiving a nationwide release on January 30.

 

To recap as we calculate the numbers, Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies keeps attacking 1st, In the Woods continues rolling in 2nd as does Unbroken in 3rd, Woman in Black 2 checks in with a match of goals in 4th, and Night of Museum 3 closes out in 5th.

 

The year of the Hobbit may’ve started this year, but last year was a bummer in the summer as Hollywood suffered a 10-15% drop as all signs pointed to what happened with Disney/Pixar. Last summer’s box office hits were delayed due in part to the biggest summer gap made by the studio. Plus, big events last summer forced sightseers to get away from moviegoing which made every movie theater empty. As for the good news, some blockbusters such as Transformers 4: Age Of Extinction, which was the only flick to reach the 200 million and the 1 billion smacker mark, and Guardians of the Galaxy made sure that this year, the box office could actually rebound.

 

But before it does, let’s take a look back of what happened in 2014 as superhero movies rescued tinsel town from bottoming out. What were the biggest pops and drops last year Jim?

 

 

Jim Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- It was a tumultuous year for the box office. Revenue looks to have come in at $10.35 billion, down more than 5 percent from 2013’s record $10.9 billion. Worse, attendance hit a two-decade low, with roughly 1.27 billion going to the movies, compared to 1.34 billion in 2013. A dismal summer was the biggest culprit (revenues tumbled 15 percent for the season).

Still, there were plenty of happy endings, thanks to a strong international marketplace, especially with China’s growing influence helping to boost some films, like Transformers: Age of Extinction which took in $1.08 billion worldwide for the top spot for the year. And there were unexpected surprises in the U.S. and abroad like Gone Girl and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here, The Hollywood Reporter looks at 2014’s biggest winners and losers at the box office:

 

 

WINNERS:

 

Female Films
It was a strong year for movies starring women or aimed mainly at female audiences. Lucy, the action film starring Scarlett Johansson, stunned many when it out-muscled big-budget actioner Hercules for the top spot at the box office when it opened in July. The Universal movie, which was watched by both men and women evenly, had a stellar $43.9 million debut and went on to earn $458.9 million worldwide, a stunning number for a movie costing $40 million. Fox’s adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars proved that young women are a desirable moviegoing demographic when they turned out in droves to watch the tearjerker. The Shailene Woodley-starrer saw females make up roughly 82 percent of its opening weekend audience, and earned a stellar $304.2 million worldwide. And a female-led movie took the title of the No. 3 movie of the year. Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as the evil witch, cast a spell over audiences worldwide to earn $757.8 million worldwide. Jolie finished off her stellar year with her directorial project Unbroken, which won over the hearts of moviegoers when it began hitting theaters in December. Based on the life of WWII prisoner of war Louis Zamperini, Unbroken earned a strong $30.6 million in its domestic opening weekend, and will continue to thrive into the new year. Jolie’s 2015 is also looking promising: her next directorial project By the Sea, in which she stars alongside husband Brad Pitt, will hit theaters this year.

 

 

Marvel

Marvel had the top movie of 2012 with the star-studded ensemble pic The Avengers, but its accomplishments in 2014 may be even more admirable. Instead of resting on the safety of its already-successful Avengers characters, the studio launched a new franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy. Based on a relatively unknown comic about a ragtag group of space heroes, Guardians starred Chris Pratt, an actor who, at the time, was not considered a movie star, best known for his work on the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation. But the film, directed by James Gunn, rocketed to huge success, earning $772.5 million worldwide to become the No. 2 film of the year (behind Transformers: Age of Extinction’s $1.09 billion). Marvel also launched the next installment in the Captain America series, with The Winter Soldier earning a hefty $714 million worldwide, making nearly twice as much as the first Captain America film ($370.5 million).

 

 

Fox
The studio had quite a year between strong tentpole performances and surprise hits, and will top the domestic box office for the first time in several years. In 2013, Fox placed sixth domestically with a tally of $1.064 billion; its 2014 total is estimated at $1.769 billion. Worldwide, its biggest moneymakers included the star-studded X-Men: Days of Future Past which earned $746 million; sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which earned strong critical acclaim and a huge box office cume of $708.3 million worldwide; animated sequel Rio 2, which soared to $498.8 million worldwide; and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, released by Fox, has earned $618.9 million worldwide. And then there were the overperformers. The adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl had amazing staying power at the domestic box office, remaining in the top 10 for 10 weeks. It became David Fincher’s top-grossing film when it earned $356.8 million worldwide. Another book adaptation, tearjerker Fault In Our Stars, also stunned at the box office, with a worldwide total of $304.2 million. And another YA film, The Maze Runner, launched a new franchise when it sprinted to $339.8 million worldwide.

 

China
The world’s second biggest film market surged 36 percent in 2014, raking in $4.76 billion (29.6 billion Yuan) at the box office. The moviegoing power of China helped boost Transformers: Age of Extinction, the only film to cross the $1 billion mark, to the No. 1 spot at the worldwide box office for the year. The film, which featured custom Chinese elements in that market, earned $320 million from China.

 
Kevin Hart
Hart proved his box office power with three successful movies in 2014. He kicked off the year with Ride Along, a $25 million comedy that topped the domestic box office for three straight weekends, a rare feat mostly accomplished by big tentpoles. After a $41.5 million U.S. debut, Ride Along rolled along to a total domestic tally of $134.9 million. Then, he won over Valentine’s Day couples with About Last Night, which had a $25.6 million U.S. debut (with African-Americans making up 72 percent of its opening audience) on its way to $48.6 million domestically. In June, Think Like a Man Too debuted No. 1 domestically with $29.3 million on its way to $65.2 million. Hart’s star will likely continue to rise with two more comedies hitting theaters in 2015: The Wedding Ringer in January and Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell, in March.

 

 

LOSERS:

Sports Movies
Sports movies, overall, weren’t able to score at the box office in 2014. Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, opened to a soft $9.8 million in its U.S. debut for a fourth place finish. The football film earned $29.5 million worldwide. Another football film, TriStar’s When the Game Stands Tall, earned a nearly identical amount, ending its run with $30 million on a $15 million budget. And Million Dollar Arm, starring John Hamm, debuted to a disappointing $10.5 million, which is low even for baseball movie standards. The $25 million film went on to make just $38.3 million worldwide.

 

 

Sword and Sandal Movies
Moviegoers seem to have little interest in returning to the times of tunics and Hercules. Three sword and sandal movies stumbled at the box office this year.  In January, the first of two Hercules movies marched into theaters. But Legend of Hercules, starring Kellan Lutz, made only $61.3 million worldwide, a poor performance for a film that cost $70 million to make. Then, Pompeii (with a budget of $100 million), starring Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, only earned $117.8 million worldwide after opening in February. Paramount’s Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson, also struggled when it opened in July to $29.8 million, losing its opening weekend domestic box office battle to sci-fi action film Lucy ($43.9 million). The film, costing $100 million to make, earned a soft $243.8 million worldwide.

 

 

Male Stars
Some male actors who were at one time considered box office staples couldn’t deliver this year. Johnny Depp, who has raked in huge business as the lead in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, was the star of sci-fi thriller Transcendence, which stalled at the box office when it debuted to only $10.9 million. With a $100 million budget, Transcendence was a big disappointment when it only earned $103 million worldwide. Another male lead with huge international pull, Tom Cruise, lead sci-fi action film Edge of Tomorrow. Although the film had strong reviews, it couldn’t grab the domestic audience, debuting to a soft $28.7 million to place third behind Fault in Our Stars ($48 million U.S. debut) and Maleficent ($34.3 million in its second weekend). The film, costing $178 million, ended up earning only $100 million domestically, but was able to pull in better business overseas for a worldwide total of $369.2 million.

 

 

Seth MacFarlane
MacFarlane’s raunchy comedy Ted was a breakout hit in 2012, but his 2014 effort, A Million Ways to Die in the West, didn’t survive the box office slaughter. MacFarlane, who is considered one of the biggest stars in the comedy TV world with hits like Family Guy, starred in and directed the comedy, which was made for $40 million but only earned $86.4 million worldwide. Several other comedies underperformed this year, including Blended ($126 million worldwide on a $40 million budget), and Sex Tape ($126 million on a $40 million budget).

 

 

Domestic Box Office
There were plenty of empty seats at movie theaters in North America last year. According to estimates, roughly 1.26 billion consumers purchased cinema tickets in 2014, making it the the lowest since since 1.21 billion in 1995. Year-over-year, attendance is about 6 percent lower than 2013, when admissions clocked in at 1.34 billion.

 

 

With only a month left until the Sponge takes a trip to the real world, the biggest music artists are putting their music to work for the soundtrack to SpongeBob Movie 2: Sponge Out of Water. Pharrell Williams, who recently brought out the sensational music for “Happy” for Despicable Me 2, recently recorded a track last week for the “Sponge”-track. What track did Williams bought this time Dan?

 

 

Dan Barry (via Animation World Network)- The composer of this year’s musical hit, “Happy,” returns with a new tune for the soundtrack of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon’s forthcoming feature, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.’

The composer of this year’s musical hit, “Happy,” is back with a new tune, “Squeeze Me,” for the soundtrack of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon’s forthcoming feature, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.

Pharrell Williams has reportedly reunited with his old songwriting partners Chad Hugo and Shay Haley to put out a new N.E.R.D. track for the upcoming CG-live action hybrid feature. The tropical-sounding “Squeeze Me” is the group’s first collaboration since their 2010 album Nothing.

“We’re trying not to think too much in a cartoon sense,” Hugo said in an interview with Variety earlier this year, “but more just like a psychedelic, otherworldly type of thing. If you want to draw a parallel, maybe think of what the Beatles did with Yellow Submarine.”

The Grammy-winning “Happy,” which spent 10 weeks at number one on the Billboard chart, was featured in Illumination Entertainment’s animated sequel Despicable Me 2.

Directed by Paul Tibbitt from a story by Tibbitt and series creator Stephen Hillenburg, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was scripted by Kung Fu Panda 2 writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.

The show’s original voice cast — Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence and Mr. Lawrence — reprise their roles alongside Antonio Banderas, who plays Alameda Jack, a pirate captain intent on recovering the last page to his magical book. The CG-live action hybrid feature is a follow-up to 2004’s The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, which grossed over $140 million worldwide.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water arrives in theaters in 3D on February 6, 2015.

 

Checking the Penguins tally, 1,966 fans sign in as Team Skipper resumes their plan to focus on their next merchandising mission.

 

Before we handover to Fish Head next week, here’s 2014’s ratings recap:

 

 

Before holiday break, Nick was the top network thanks to the network’s Saturday night lineup which recovered a slight drop thanks to Cartoon Network and Disney which was the top network for teens and tweens. The 2014 KCA’s were also the highest watched award show in its history. Over 5 million viewers watched the slime studded event. The 2014 Nick HALO Awards were also the highest awards show which drew 3 million viewers, 2 million less than the KCA’s alone. Not only that, the first ever KCS awards topped younger viewers and teens. The network launched Dora and Friends, Wallykzam, and Blaze and the Monster Machines which entertained preschoolers for plenty of fun.

 

The other Nick networks did well too. Disney Channel’s DCOM Zapped! was the most watched movie while Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time was the most watched CN original for 2014. The 3 networks dropped hard due to tough competition, but Disney Junior managed to beat them out of 33 networks with an 18% pop. Sounds like Nick, Cartoon Network, and Disney have some work cut out for them this year if they can come back with better gains.

 

Team Leo’s back in action next weekend after being taken shelter from out of town since the Krang invaded NYC. What will the Green Machine do when they return to finish where they left off? See the comeback next Sunday with brand new episodes! See you this week for this edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!

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