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January 5, 2014
With much of the Northeast under a blanket of snow, it's fitting that Disney Animation's Frozen made its way back in to first place this weekend. Not far behind was Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which continued the trend of declining grosses for this five-year-old franchise.
As usual with bad weather, it's unclear what impact the snow had on the box office this weekend. The Top 10 holdovers dropped an average of 35 percent this weekend; on the same weekend last year, the Top 10 holdovers declined 36 percent. While that doesn't definitively prove anything, it does suggest that the "snow effect" probably isn't significant.
In first place, Frozen added $20.7 million. That's the third-highest sixth weekend ever behind Avatar ($34.9 million) and Titanic ($25.2 million). Frozen is also the first movie to hold the top spot on its sixth weekend since Avatar did so back in January 2010. Frozen has now earned $297.8 million at the domestic box office, and should be past $300 million in the next few days.
Playing at 2,867 locations, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opened to an estimated $18.2 million this weekend. That's significantly lower than Paranormal Activity 4 ($29 million), which was already way off from Paranormal Activity 3 ($52.7 million). It was also lower than last January's Texas Chainsaw 3D ($21.7 million), though that movie did benefit from 3D ticket pricing.
If it wasn't obvious already, it's now pretty clear that franchise fatigue has set in for Paranormal Activity. The found footage haunted house concept was novel back in 2009, but by now horror audiences have started to move on to fresher material. While The Marked Ones did a decent job differentiating itself from its predecessors, the spin-off still couldn't shake the impression that this was just another Paranormal Activity movie.
According to Paramount, the audience was split evenly between men and women, and skewed very young (68 percent under 25 years of age). They awarded the movie a weak "C-" CinemaScore, which is even worse than Paranormal Activity 4's "C" grade. Based on these metrics, it's unlikely that The Marked Ones earns more than $35 million or so by the end of its run. Still, it cost a meager $5 million and will do solid business overseas, so in the end it will likely turn a minor profit.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug fell 44 percent to $16.3 million. To date, the second Lord of the Rings prequel has earned $229.6 million, and remains on pace for a total between $260 and $270 million.
Despite receiving an awful "C" CinemaScore, interest in The Wolf of Wall Street appears to still be quite high: on its second weekend, the three-hour Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio flick dropped a light 27 percent to $13.4 million. To date, the movie has earned $63.3 million, and it remains in contention for a $100 million total (so long as it can grab a few key Oscar nominations).
In fifth place, American Hustle eased 30 percent to $13.2 million. David O. Russell's star-studded caper has now earned $88.7 million, and will likely be past $100 million before Oscar nominations are announced on January 16th.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues fell 44 percent to $11.1 million this weekend. On Friday, the comedy sequel passed $100 million, and it has now earned $109.2 million total.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug led the foreign box office for the fourth-straight weekend with $58 million. It has now earned $527 million overseas; add in its domestic total, and its worldwide figure reached $756.6 million.
The big question now is whether or not The Hobbit can reach $1 billion worldwide. In late February, the movie expands in to China and Japan—the first Hobbit movie earned around $70 million from those two markets. Considering China's rapid expansion, it's reasonable to expect at least a slight increase. If Desolation of Smaug can get to $900 million worldwide by the end of January, $1 billion should be achievable.
Playing in approximately 84 percent of the foreign marketplace, Frozen added $52.5 million this weekend. In Brazil, it opened to $4.2 million ($5.9 million including previews), which is the biggest start ever for a Disney or Pixar Animation movie. To date, it's earned $342.1 million, and still has Japan and China on the way.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty earned $31.5 million overseas for an early total of $68.8 million. It had solid debuts in Russia ($4.8 million), South Korea ($3.4 million), Germany ($3.3 million) and France ($3.3 million).
Thanks to a massive $13.1 million debut in Russia, 47 Ronin had its best weekend yet ($20.5 million). So far the mega-budget movie has made $51.3 million overseas, and still has a long way to go before it can be considered anything but a disaster.
Coinciding with its domestic debut, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opened in 24 foreign markets and earned $16.2 million. Major markets included the U.K. ($3.2 million), France ($3.1 million), Germany ($3 million), Mexico ($2 million), and Spain ($1 million). The Paranormal Activity franchise has a strong track record overseas (the last one earned $89 million), and it's fair to expect similar results for the latest entry.
by Ray Subers
Click here to view weekend chart