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NORTH AMERICA: Studio Weekend Estimates: 'The Desolation of Smaug' Still #1 with $31.46M; 'Anchorman 2' Softer than Expected with $40.0M in Five Days; 'American Hustle' Starts Strong with $19.1M (7th Update) on December 20, 2013

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Sunday Update: Thanks in part to the softer than anticipated start of Paramount's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Warner's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was somewhat unexpectedly able to remain in first place this weekend. The second installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy took in an estimated $31.46 million, which represented a 57 percent decline from last weekend's opening weekend performance. The film's second weekend hold was quite similar to that of last year's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which fell 56 percent in its second weekend to gross $36.89 million. With a solid ten-day start of $127.50 million, The Desolation of Smaug is running 15 percent behind the $150.04 million ten-day take of An Unexpected Journey. The Desolation of Smaug will hope to hold up slightly better than An Unexpected Journey did over the holidays, though that isn't a given with five new wide releases entering the marketplace on Christmas Day.

IMAX locations were responsible for $4.06 million (12.9 percent) of this weekend's overall gross for The Desolation of Smaug. The film has grossed $16.13 million in IMAX to date, which represents 12.6 percent of its total domestic gross thus far.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues debuted in second place with an estimated $26.78 million. Since opening on Wednesday the long awaited (and much buzzed about) comedy sequel starring Will Ferrell has grossed $40.0 million in five days of release. While Anchorman 2 is off to a respectable start with its reported $50 million production budget in mind, the film's performance thus far has been underwhelming given the lofty expectations of many and its inability to top The Desolation of Smaug for first place this weekend. With a five-day to three-day ratio of 1.49 to 1, it also appears as though moviegoers were fairly aware of the film's relatively late release date change to Wednesday after all. Anchorman 2 is currently running 11 percent behind the $45.08 million five-day December start of 2010's Little Fockers. Anchorman 2 should hold up fairly well over the holidays, though the film's so-so B rating on CinemaScore is a bit concerning.

Sony's American Hustle was off to a very healthy start in its first weekend of wide release with an estimated $19.1 million. The David O. Russell directed awards season hopeful opened on the high end of expectations and finds itself in a very close race for third place this weekend with Disney's Frozen (with Frozen having the slight edge in estimates). With the weekend estimates for the two films only separated by $63,000, the race for third obviously won't be decided until actuals are released on Monday. This weekend's gross for American Hustle was 57 percent stronger than the $12.14 million grossed by 2010's The Fighter in its first weekend of wide release. After an additional week of platform release, American Hustle has grossed $20.21 million to date. This weekend's performance was especially encouraging when considering that grosses are typically deflated the weekend before Christmas weekend. With strong reviews, continued awards buzz and the holidays ahead of it, American Hustle is likely to hold up very well going forward. American Hustle received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Frozen held up exceptionally well this weekend with an estimated $19.16 million. The blockbuster 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation was down a very slim 15 percent from last weekend. This weekend's hold was especially impressive when considering that four new wide releases entered the marketplace this weekend. Thanks in part to continued strong word of mouth and relatively little direct competition for family audiences, Frozen continues to exceed expectations with $191.56 million after 26 days of wide release. That places the film 50 percent ahead of the $127.92 million 26-day take of 2010's Tangled. Frozen will soon zoom past the $200.8 million final domestic gross of Tangled.

Fellow Disney release Saving Mr. Banks debuted in fifth place with an estimated $9.32 million. The awards season hopeful starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks debuted slightly below expectations. Saving Mr. Banks likely took a direct hit from the healthy start of American Hustle with adult moviegoers this weekend, as there is typically only so much room at the box office the weekend before Christmas. Given that Saving Mr. Banks is skewing heavily towards older moviegoers (61 percent of its audience was 35 years and older) and going over well with initial audiences (the film received a strong A rating on CinemaScore), it is highly likely that the film will hold up extremely well throughout the holidays.

Fox's Walking with Dinosaurs debuted in eighth with an estimated $7.3 million. The 3D family film featuring computer animated dinosaurs opened on the low end of its modest pre-release expectations. Interest in the film among family audiences is clearly limited at this point given the film's lackluster start this weekend and the exceptional weekend hold of Frozen. However, family films typically hold up very well over the holidays, so it is likely that Walking with Dinosaurs experiences strong holiday holds going forward. Walking with Dinosaurs received a B CinemaScore rating.

On the limited front, Yash Raj Films' Dhoom 3 grossed an estimated $3.31 from 236 locations. That gave the Bollywood film a per-location average of $14,004 for the frame and represented the largest opening weekend performance ever for a Bollywood film in North America. The previous record was the $2.20 million opening weekend take of Chennai Express back in August.

In other box office news, Disney's Thor: The Dark World surpassed the $200 million domestic mark this weekend after grossing an estimated $1.33 million for the frame. Marvel's blockbuster superhero sequel has grossed $200.77 million to date.

Saturday Update: Paramount's official Friday estimate for Anchorman 2 is $8.7 million, putting the sequel on track for a three-day weekend of $28.5 million. Combined with Wednesday's and Thursday's grosses, that would give the flick a decent $41.7 million five-day start. The hyper-marketed comedy retained first place on Friday by an estimated margin of less than $100,000 over The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. BoxOffice projects the second Hobbit pic will retain first place for the weekend as a whole.

Early word of mouth for Anchorman 2 appears to be a mixed bag. Following its "B" CinemaScore on Wednesday, 74 percent of Flixster users approve of or are anticipating seeing the film.

Sony reports that American Hustle swiped a strong $6.3 million yesterday as it expanded into nationwide release. The David O. Russell-helmed pic is on pace for a projected $19.2 million weekend. By comparison, The Fighter earned $3.94 million on its first day (toward a $12.1 million weekend) in nationwide release when it followed a similar release pattern in 2010. The awards contender should play well through the holidays with buzz from its Golden Globes nominations on top of very healthy word of mouth. Hustle's Flixster score currently sits at 88 percent.

Disney's Saving Mr. Banks cashed in $2.96 million as it also went into its nationwide expansion on Friday. BoxOffice projects the well-reviewed family-friendly drama will post a $9.2 million weekend, setting it up for a leggy holiday run in the same vein as 2011's We Bought a Zoo. Buzz for the film has largely been driven by Emma Thompson's performance and Tom Hanks' portrayal of the iconic Walt Disney, a combination which should continue attracting older audiences into the new year. Reception appears strong thus far with 90 percent of Flixster users anticipating or approving of the film.

Lastly, Fox's Walking with Dinosaurs managed a soft $2.3 million start yesterday and is projected to earn around $7.8 million for the weekend. The CG animation is attempting to counter-program toward families with young children. Unfortunately, Disney's Frozen and Warner's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug are taking the lion's share of that audience going into Christmas week. Dinosaurs could pick up in the days ahead with more families coming out each day, but early word of mouth seems quite weak with a 56 percent Flixster score (down from an 86 percent pre-release anticipation level).

Friday Update #2: Paramount reports that Anchorman 2 is up to a healthy $13.2 million haul after two days of release. The comedy grossed $8.1 million on Wednesday and another $5.1 million on Friday. 

Friday Update: Sony reports that American Hustle managed a healthy $1.1 million from around 2,200 locations from Thursday evening shows. That's a very impressive start for the crime comedy/drama.

Thursday Update: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues managed a solid $8.1 million on Wednesday. BoxOffice forecasts a $45 million debut frame.  

Wednesday evening: Sources tell BoxOffice that Anchorman 2 could earn as much as $10 million today (Wednesday) based on early sales reports. That figure includes the previously reported $2.3 million from Tuesday night shows.

More to come...

Wednesday morning: Early estimates indicate Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues earned $2.3 million on Tuesday night when the sequel launched at 9pm.

By comparison, The Hangover Part III did $3.1 million from Wednesday night shows in May, but Anchorman 2 is off to a solid start regardless. BoxOffice expects the film's proximity to Christmas and late release date change (moved up from Friday) will cause a more weekend-heavy performance for the Will Ferrell comedy. Stay tuned for our official predictions later on Wednesday.

'ANCHORMAN 2' Dominates Fandango on December 19, 2013

LOS ANGELES - December 19, 2013 - According to Fandango, the nation's leading moviegoer destination, "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is ready to take on "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," with "Anchorman 2" scoring a classy 87 and "Smaug" a strong 81 out of 100 points on Fandango's Fanticipation movie buzz indicator. "Anchorman 2" is also leading advance ticket sales, representing more than 50% of Fandango's weekly sales.

"Anchorman 2" is currently outselling all of this year's live-action comedies -- including "We're the Millers," "This is the End," "The Heat," "The Hangover Part III," and "Identity Thief" -- at the same point in the sales cycle on Fandango. Fandango is also reporting a higher-than-usual number of tickets per transaction for the film, indicating the comedy is a top choice for groups of moviegoers.

According to a Fandango survey of more than 1,000 "Anchorman 2" ticket-buyers:
· 92% say they wanted to see a big-screen comedy during the holiday season;

· 84% claim Ron Burgundy's recent promos increased their interest in "Anchorman 2;"

· 82% say the film's celebrity cameos made them more excited to see it;

· 79% picked Kristen Wiig as the most anticipated new costar in the sequel;

· 73% can't wait for a third "Anchorman" movie, even before they've seen "Anchorman 2."

"There's a party-like feel to the ‘Anchorman 2' and it's likely that happy vibe will be felt in theaters too," says Dave Karger, Chief Correspondent for Fandango and host of "Weekend Ticket." "We're seeing a higher-than-usual number of tickets per transaction in ‘Anchorman 2' sales, which may indicate large groups of film fans celebrating the holidays with Ron Burgundy's news team."

About Fandango's Fanticipation
Known for having its finger on the pulse of moviegoers, Fandango's movie buzz indicator, Fanticipation, provides statistical insight into the movies fans are planning to see in a given weekend. Fanticipation scores (based on a 1 to 100-point scale) are calculated via an algorithm of Fandango's advance ticket sales, website and mobile traffic, and social media engagement. Fanticipation is not intended as a forecast of the weekend box office; it is a snapshot of movie fan sentiment.

 

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS ANNOUNCES RECORD-SETTING YEAR on December 16, 2013

Domestic Box Office Record Follows Previously Announced Global and International Highs

BURBANK, Calif. - December 16, 2013 - On Saturday, December 14, The Walt Disney Studios reached a new all-time high at the domestic box office, breaking the company's previous record of $1.547 billion set in 2012. The accomplishment makes 2013 a landmark year for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, which has already surpassed all previous years at both the international and global box office.

"We had an incredible collection of films in 2013 and our teams here and around the world worked very hard to bring these wonderful experiences to audiences," said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "As a result we are having a banner year at the domestic, international, and global box office, and we are very proud of this tremendous accomplishment and the people who made it possible."

In July, Disney was the first studio to reach the $1 billion domestic box office milestone for the year, a threshold it has achieved for eight consecutive years. In August, in company record time, Disney reached the $2 billion international box office threshold for the fourth year in a row, and in November the studio surpassed its previous all-time international record of $2.302 billion as well as its previous all-time global record of $3.791 billion, both set in 2010. Most recently, the studio surpassed $1.5 billion at the domestic box office in a company record 340 days.

The Walt Disney Studios' box office results this year have been primarily driven by the following releases:

· Marvel's Iron Man 3 - Opened domestically May 3 with $174.1M, the second highest opening of all time, and has amassed over $1.215B worldwide, including $409M domestic and $806.3M international, to become the year's top-grossing film and the only billion-dollar film of the year. Fifth highest-grossing film of all time globally.

· Disney•Pixar's Monsters University - Opened domestically June 21 with $82.4M, the second highest Pixar debut ever, and has earned $744.9M worldwide, including $268.5M domestic and $476.4M international. Currently the #4 film globally and internationally and the #5 film domestically for the year. Pixar's third highest-grossing film ever worldwide.

· Marvel's Thor: The Dark World - Opened domestically November 8 with $85.7M, and has earned $621.2M worldwide, including $198.2M domestic and $423M international. Currently the #8 film globally, #5 internationally, and #11 domestically for the year. Still in release.

· Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful - Opened domestically March 8 with $79.1M, and has earned $493.3M worldwide, including $234.9M domestic and $258.4M international. Currently the #8 film domestically and the #11 film globally for the year.

· Disney's Frozen - Opened domestically in wide release November 27 with a Thanksgiving record $93.6M over the five-day holiday period and Walt Disney Animations Studios' biggest opening ever, and has earned $268.5M worldwide, including $164.8M domestic and $103.7M international, with much of the international market yet to roll out. Still in release.

The studio's final 2013 release, Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, opened in limited release December 13 and expands nationwide on December 20.

About The Walt Disney Studios
For 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.

GLOBAL: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Rapidly Approaches $750 Million; 'Frozen' Heading For $275 Million on December 15, 2013

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire added another $19.5 million from 83 overseas markets this weekend. Lionsgate's juggernaut is now up to $372.9 million overseas. The next major release for the action flick is Japan on December 27. Catching Fire's global total is sitting pretty at $739.9 million, which means it should reach the $750 million plateau this coming week, and it still has plenty of life left in it. 

Frozen grabbed another $31.5 million overseas, giving it a $101.6 million tally. Globally, the animated flick is already up to $266 million. Frozen opened in first place in Russia with $11 million. Other key overseas totals:

Germany -- $20.9M
UK -- $16.8M
France -- $15.3M
Russia -- $11.1M
Spain -- $10.0M
Poland -- $4.0M
Malaysia -- $2.8M

Gravity managed another $8 million for a staggering overseas total of $389.4 million. Globally, Gravity's total is $641.4 million. 

About Time took in another $4.2 million from 20 territories, pushing its overseas total to a healthy $54.5 million.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is still alive and well overseas. The animated flick tallied another $3.8 million this weekend. Cloudy 2 is up to $108 million overseas and $223 million globally. 

Captain Phillips crossed the $100 million overseas plateau this weekend. Sony's action flick added another $3.2 million, including a healthy $810K in Russia. Captain Phillips is now up to $206 million. 

Carrie took in $2.9 million overseas for a total of $43.3 million. Globally, Carrie is up to $78.3 million. 

Thor: The Dark World added $1.3 million overseas this weekend. The Disney/Marvel effort is up to $421.8 million overseas and $619.9 million globally. A Japan opening is set for February 1.  

47 Ronin continues to struggle in Japan. The Keanu Reeves vehicle is up to only $2.9 million after 10 days of release.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa roped in another $1.2 million from 46 overseas territories, pushing its total abroad to $41.4 million. Globally, Bad Grandpa is up to $141.9 million. 

More coming soon...


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