WINNER OF THE WEEK: Baggins. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug did what everyone expected it to do: It earned an estimated $31.5 million, falling 57 percent from last weekend’s debut. Still, that was enough for the film to remain at Number One. So far, it’s earned $127.5 million, which is well behind the $150.0 million that the previous Hobbit installment earned over its first 10 days. Yet it still gets to enjoy bragging rights, not just for being on top for two weeks, but also for beating…
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Burgundy. Pundits expected Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues to debut on top with a $40 million weekend. Instead, it opened with just an estimated $26.8 million for the weekend and a total of $40.0 million since its opening on Wednesday. The movie was massively hyped, but that may not have been enough to overcome a last-minute release-date shift and weak word-of-mouth (it earned just a B grade at CinemaScore).
Also underperforming was 3D toon Walking With Dinosaurs. Expectations were already low for this one (about $8 or $9 million), since it would have to compete for the kiddie-toon dollar against the still-powerful Frozen (Number Three this weekend, with an estimated $19.2 million). Even so, it premiered with just $7.3 million, debuting in eighth place.
DO THE ‘HUSTLE’: Now that the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations are out and the Oscar race is in full swing, the awards hopefuls are starting to push and shove their way into the multiplex. In their second weeks, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks both added about 2,100 theaters and, as a result, crashed the top five. Hustle took fourth place with an estimated $19.1 million (though with only a $63,000 gap between its estimate and Frozen’s, it’s possible that Hustle will rise to third place when final numbers are released on Monday). In fifth place, Banks earned an estimated $9.3 million. (And, just because the top 10 needed more shaking up, debuting in ninth place was Bollywood action sequel Dhoom 3, earning an estimated $3.3 million on just 236 screens.)
Dhoom 3 averaged an impressive $14,004 per venue, but the biggest per-screen average of the weekend belonged to Her. Spike Jonze’s awards-appeal drama, about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his smartphone’s operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), opened on just six screens but earned an estimated $258,000, for an average of $43,000. It’s hard to imagine a movie as offbeat as Her doing as well as American Hustle or Saving Mr. Banks, but that’s an awfully good start.