By Alex Edghill

Friday Morning Update: Focus continued to impress last week as it rose over 100% to 62,401 tweets. The primary impetus on the week was its second trailer and having its trailer attached to a few films over the holidays. Will Smith is always a force to be reckoned with at the box office but it will be interesting to see if his star power has waned any after his last film After Earth was largely panned by critics and audiences alike. At any rate, social media buzz is generally muted around the holidays so this figure here is warming to say the least and hints at another win for Smith. He has only ever top-lined in one other February opener - 2005's Hitch which had a $43 million start. Can be best $50 million here in 2015?

Two franchise heavyweights for later in the year came in at number 2 and 3 respectively in Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Star Wars: The Forces Awakens. These titles are forever lurking in the top 15 on any given week given their massive fanbases but got an extra boost this past week thanks to trailer news. Age Of Ultron first hinted at a new trailer a few days ago and then released a teaser trailer to the new trailer yesterday. Enough to power it upwards to over 50k tweets. The Force Awakens has remained at a pretty consistent clip over the past couple weeks. Various fan made trailer have also helped to fuel its buzz (see this for instance). Unlike last year's sequels which generally missed the mark compared to their predecessors Hollywood has high hopes for these two films and anything short of $400-$500 million here would likely be a disappointment which is a huge shot in the arm for the year as a whole.

Taken 3 came in at #4 with 28,522 tweets on the eve of its release. A dip in performance from Taken 2 might very well be possible thanks to how the second film was panned universally but Neeson has done so well with the franchise than I wouldn't bet against it just yet. By comparison, Taken 2 didn't even hit 15,000 tweets during the same period before its release. Listen very carefully to me, Taken 3 is going to be another winner. 

Twitter Top 5 Movies for the week of December26th to January 1st

Date Movie Tweets Rank Peak Change
2/27/15 Focus (2015) 62,401 1 (+3) 1 114.33%
5/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 52,011 2 (+7) 1 195.92%
12/18/15 Star Wars: The Force Awakens 38,612 3 (+3) 3 43.04%
1/09/15 Taken 3 28,522 4 (+7) 4 70.03%
3/13/15 Cinderella (2015) 25,034 5 (+7) 5 74.15%

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Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

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christmasday.jpgPlease note that Wednesday grosses from most studios are their official estimates. Actual results will be reported on Friday.

Warner Bros. reports The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies added an estimated $6.0 million on New Year's Eve Wednesday as it retained first place. That figure brings the finale's domestic total up to $189.5 million through 15 days of release -- 11 percent more than The Desolation of Smaug earned through the same release point.

Unbroken grabbed $5.9 million yesterday in second place, giving the Universal pic a total of $62.5 million through 7 days. Angelina Jolie's directorial effort is pacing 19 percent ahead of where The Curious Case of Benjamin Button stood at the same point following its Christmas Day release six years ago.

Disney's Into the Woods moved down to third place with $5.3 million yesterday. The musical's 7-day total is $64.1 million, placing it 13 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's Bedtime Stories, which was also released by Disney on Christmas Day that year.

Fox's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb pulled $4.9 million on Wednesday, landing it in fourth place. That brings the three-quel's total up to $69.4 million through 13 days.

Annie finished off the top five yesterday with $3.0 million. Sony's remake has tallied $56.96 million through 13 days of release.

Just outside the top five, The Imitation Game posted another $2.1 million from its 747 locations -- giving it a $2,811 per-screen average and a total of $19.9 million so far.

The Gambler added $1.59 million from 2,478 theaters yesterday, bringing its 6-day total to $18.9 million.


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2014.pngBy Shawn Robbins

The calendar's resetting once again, and 2014's domestic box office haul will land just north of $10.3 billion -- down an estimated 5 percent from last year's record $10.9 billion. December is projected to finish around $890 million, 15 percent off last year's final month.

The LEGO Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, hand a handful of other titles helped 2014 best three of 2013's first four months. Unfortunately, May, June, and July combined for the weakest three months of summer since 2006. That set the stage for the first billion-dollar August ($1.02 billion, to be exact) -- driven largely by smash hits Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Two months later, Gone Girl and The Equalizer's post-opening run helped form the best October on record ($758.3 million).

For a summary of 2014 box office stats, be sure to follow this page as it's updated over the coming days.

In all, since North American grosses began routinely eclipsing the $10 billion annual threshold in 2009, this past year will rank only ahead of 2011's $10.2 billion. It's easy to look back and point out the critical or commercial failures of any year, but we see no sense in pounding that drum any louder than necessary. Below are six glass-half-full takeaways from the year that was.

Sequels Aren't Just Money-Printers

As commonplace as they are to the movie business, we still wince with caution at the announcement of sequels, prequels, and reboots. That's a wise approach to maintain, but 2014 proved art can still take precedence over -- or hold reasonable balance with -- financial motive. For just a few examples: Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future PastDawn of the Planet of the Apes, 22 Jump Street, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 were each met with strong praise from both critics and audiences alike.

Fewer Blockbusters, Fewer Disasters

2013 became somewhat notorious for its wealth of big-budget flops. Thankfully, that trend receded a bit this year.

On the other side of the coin, this marked just the second time since 2007 that no movie hit (or even came near) the $400 million domestic benchmark. In fact, Guardians' $333 million is the lowest to claim the yearly crown since 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone won its year with $318 million.

That doesn't diminish the success of Guardians or other films, though. Markets inherently move up and down. After 2013's record summer and holiday performances, moviegoers decided to act more frugally in 2014. That's why, despite falling short of their predecessors' juggernaut runs, pics like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies can only be viewed as resounding successes. There just weren't enough "event" films to truly live up to their moniker over the past twelve months.

Keeping the Faith

Faith-based films were a major box office story this year. While Noah ($101 million) will finish as the top-grosser of the bunch, it also stood as the most divisive and controversial. Heaven Is for Real, Son of God, and God's Not Dead (which earned $212 million combined) rang much truer for their audiences and revived a dormant notion: that not-so-subtle Christian themes can find success in theaters. This is clearly an audience not to be overlooked in the future, but one that can also be turned off very quickly when special effects take precedence over the message.

Fox Rebounds

While another studio (which we'll get to shortly) tends to dominate the headlines, 20th Century Fox will claim the biggest market share of any studio in 2014 with over 17 percent of total box office grosses. That's a significant improvement from last year when the studio netted less than 10 percent, merely the sixth-best among the seven major studios.

How'd they do it? Strong scheduling and audience targeting. Son of God brought out faith-based audiences back in February and March, The Other Woman gave girls something worth checking out in early summer, Bryan Singer delivered another hit X-Men sequel of a unique, time-traveling breed, and The Fault in Our Stars reaffirmed -- like Lionsgate's Divergent months before -- the value of young adult adaptations and Shailene Woodley's rising star. Following those standouts, the Apes sequel wowed summer crowds, Let's Be Cops and The Maze Runner stood out during August and September, and of course, Gone Girl hit it big in the fall.

Marvel Is Unstoppable

This point has been belabored enough that it's just stating the obvious. Still, let's be honest: entering 2014, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn't quite living up to the hype. Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World did very well at the box office in the preceding year, but audiences weren't overly in love with either one.

The game changed with Winter Soldier's April-record $95 million opening, strong reviews, and very positive word of mouth to kick-start the summer a full month early. In an impressive scheduling strategy of their/Disney's own, Marvel book-ended that success when Guardians of the Galaxy set an August record with its $94.3 million opening, generating a bestselling soundtrack, and igniting the kind of rare buzz among fans and casual viewers alike that helped it reach nearly $333 million stateside ($773 million globally).

Not bad for the movie that was supposed to be Marvel Studios' first outright failure, eh?

Disney May Be Even More Unstoppable

They claimed the top two movies worldwide, and two of the top three domestically, one year ago. We've seen Disney's box office dominance coming for awhile now, but their success with "predictable" hits has spilled over to other projects. It's not just Marvel carrying them, nor Pixar (who, for the first time in nine years, didn't release a movie in 2014).

Following the phenom of Frozen, Disney capitalized on its resurgence with family and female moviegoers. With the help of Angelina Jolie's star power, Maleficent became one of the biggest movies of summer. Over the holiday season, Big Hero 6 -- despite a somewhat clunky title -- marked another hit for the Walt Disney Animation Studios, while Into the Woods is currently serving as one of the top choices for holiday patrons and will soon clear $100 million domestically.

On top of all that, Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and co. easily made the biggest impact on social media by way of future releases this year. The trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron gave fans their first look at the eagerly awaited reunion of Iron Man and the gang taking on a new villain of devilish potential in James Spader's motion-captured hands.

Just when you thought buzz for an upcoming movie couldn't be any louder, the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens nearly brought the Internet to its knees over Thanksgiving weekend. Widely reported as the most-watched trailer of the year, Episode VII of the Star Wars saga is still one year out from its December 18 release, but Disney isn't wasting any time getting word out for the sequel that many audiences have waited nearly thirty-two years for.

That's it for this 2014 wrap-up, but we're sure to have left some subjects on the cutting room floor. What were some of your takeaways and favorite movie debates from 2014? Will we still be talking about The Interview in thirty years? Is Gareth Edwards' Godzilla criminally underrated? Will Christopher Nolan's Interstellar prove to have been ahead of its time?

Share your thoughts below!

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Domestic Total: $10.35 billion (estimated as of 12/31/14)

Year/Year Domestic Decline vs. 2013: -5.2% (estimated as of 12/31/14)

Top 10 Global Earners:

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount): $1,081,139,076
2. Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney): $772,962,030
3. Maleficent (Disney): $758,210,378
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox): $748,348,506
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney): $714,666,572
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Fox): $710,487,433
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony): $708,995,815
8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (Lionsgate)
: $671,939,828
9. Interstellar (Paramount/Warner Bros.): $642,280,502
10. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox/DreamWorks Animation): $621,748,078

Top 10 Domestic Earners (as of 12/30/14):

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) $332,862,030 
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (Lionsgate) $308,939,828 
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney) $259,766,572 
4. The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros.) $257,760,692 
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount) $245,439,076 
6. Maleficent (Disney) $241,410,378 
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox) $233,921,534 
8. Dawn of The Planet of The Apes (Fox) $208,545,589 
9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony / Columbia) $202,853,933 
10. Big Hero 6 (Disney) $201,498,903 

Top 10 Domestic Opening Weekends (3-day, Friday-Sunday)

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1: $121.9 million
2. Transformers: Age of Extinction: $100.0 million
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: $95.0 million
4. Guardians of the Galaxy: $94.3 million
5. Godzilla: $93.2 million
6. The Amazing Spider-man 2: $91.6 million
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past: $90.8 million
8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: $72.6 million
9. Maleficent: $69.4 million
10. The LEGO Movie: $69.1 million 

More to come...


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By Daniel Garris

Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies grossed an estimated $7.96 million on Tuesday to remain in first place at the daily box office. The third and final installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy has led the daily box office for 13 of the past 14 days. The Battle of the Five Armies was up 5.5 percent over Monday and down a healthy 19 percent from last Tuesday. The two-week total for The Battle of the Five Armies stands at $183.53 million, which leaves the film just $16.47 million away from reaching the $200 million domestic milestone. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is running 16 percent ahead of the $160.47 million two-week take of last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 3 percent behind the $189.70 million two-week gross of 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Disney's Into the Woods held steady in second with $6.51 million. The Rob Marshall directed musical featuring Meryl Streep increased 6 percent over Monday's performance. Into the Woods has grossed $58.77 million in six days of release. That represents a very good start, especially when taking into the account the film's relatively modest location count and production cost. Into the Woods is running 15 percent ahead of the $51.01 million six-day take of 2008's Bedtime Stories and 12 percent behind the $66.72 million six-day gross of 2012's Les Misérables.

Unbroken took in $5.39 million to remain in third. The Angelina Jolie directed war drama from Universal was up 4 percent over Monday, which represented one of the day's smaller daily percentage increases among wide releases. Unbroken continues to exceed expectations in a big way with a strong six-day start of $56.61 million. That places the film an impressive 17 percent ahead of the $48.38 million six-day start of 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and 11 percent behind the $63.44 million six-day take of 2012's Django Unchained.

Fox's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb continued to display strong holiday holding power with a fourth place take of $5.28 million. The third installment of the Ben Stiller led franchise was up 18.5 percent over Monday and up 27.5 percent over last Tuesday. Family films in general experienced especially strong daily holds on Tuesday. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has grossed $64.48 million in twelve days. That already gives the film a current total gross to opening weekend ratio of 3.77 to 1.

Annie also held up nicely on Tuesday to round out the day's unchanged top five with an estimated $4.40 million. Sony's musical remake starring Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz was up 15 percent over Monday and up 24 percent over last Tuesday. Annie surpassed the $50 million mark yesterday and has grossed $53.96 million in twelve days. The total gross to opening weekend ratio for Annie currently stands at 3.40 to 1.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 placed in sixth with $2.39 million. The third installment of Lionsgate's blockbuster franchise was up 8 percent over Monday and up 25 percent over last Tuesday. Mockingjay - Part 1 is currently the second highest grossing release of 2014 domestically with a 40-day take of $311.33 million.

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