As expected, the four-day holiday weekend was a shot in the arm for the domestic box office, allowing a year that has been hit-and-miss at best to end on a strong note. Not every new release was a hit, but most of the new titles performed exceptionally and many of the older films saw an impressive surge in their numbers. However, the really interesting battle was for the second place slot, as ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into the Woods’ fought for the right to be the runner-up to ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.’

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies $42,220,000 (-22) $10,968 $169,601,000
2 Unbroken $32,300,000 $10,316 $47,902,000
3 Into the Woods $32,200,000 $13,197 $47,289,000
4 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb $20,500,000 (+20) $5,238 $55,232,000
5 Annie $17,000,000 (+7)
$5,317 $46,235,000
6 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 $10,200,000 (+29) $3,652 $306,855,000
7 The Gambler $8,700,000 $3,511 $13,700,000
8 Exodus: Gods and Kings $6,500,000 (-20) $2,165 $52,271,000
9 Wild $5,200,000 (+26) $4,047 $16,149,000
10 Big Hero 6 $4,800,000 (+32) $2,324 $199,877,000

 

After a solid opening weekend, the third ‘Hobbit’ movie showcased some serious power in its second weekend. It seems that a lot of people were waiting for their family vacation to check out the last Middle-Earth film. When the dust settles, the movie’s current gross will sit at $169 million, already putting it on the fast track to fly past the mediocre gross of ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.’ Unless something goes wrong, it may even have a shot at $300 million. This is a nice financial comeback for a franchise that was falling on hard times last year.

The second and third spots don’t involve such large numbers (yet), but they involve a far closer race. As of this writing, ‘Unbroken’ has barely edged out ‘Into the Woods’ by only $100,000 to snatch second place. This could change when the final numbers arrive on Monday, but right now, both films appear to have made $32 million and change over the weekend (and $47 million each over the four days). That’s an expected number for a star-studded Disney-produced fairy tale musical, but it’s far more surprising for ‘Unbroken,’ a drama that doesn’t particularly scream “holiday entertainment.” It’ll be interesting to see how the grosses of both hold up after the holiday rush ends. Can both play through January? Possibly.

The fourth, fifth and sixth slots saw several films make one final surge in their numbers. ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ beat its own opening weekend with $20 million, but with only $55 million after two weeks, it is already a pretty big disappointment. We can’t come to any conclusions about (the much less expensive) ‘Annie,’ which also topped its opening weekend and brought its current gross to $46 million. And then there’s ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1,’ which took a 29% boost for a $10 million weekend, finally allowing it to crack $300 million. The jury is still out on whether or not it will catch ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ but it will be a close one.

The seventh and eighth slots bring us to the first low points of the top 10. ‘The Gambler’ disappointed with only $13 million over four days and ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ continued to die a slow, painful, and public death (it won’t even come close to hitting $100 million, which still would have been a disastrous gross). However, the list does end on a high note, with ‘Wild’ performing beyond expectations and ‘Big Hero 6’ bringing itself right to the edge of $200 million.