UPDATED: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ Exceeds Box Office Expectations

By December 21, 2014
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UPDATED 2:27pm PST: For the final tally in the opening weekend saga of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, expectations were still too low to properly approximate peoples’ interest in the finale of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth films. According to Variety, even the updated figure of $88 million was too low: the latest Hobbit film will take in $90.6 million for its first five days in theaters. Warner Bros. distribution EVP Jeff Goldstein released a statement on the box office performance, saying, “There have been six visits to Middle-earth, and this is the final one, and it became so important for people to come out to see this in a big way. The action was there, and Peter made a fabulous movie.”

Although this film appeared to be facing some notable competition in the form of two major family-friendly releases, this weekend’s take was really a no-contest. Updated totals for both Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie place both films’ first weekend totals at $17.3 million and $16.3 million, respectively. The previous Hobbit films basically ran unopposed in their respective weekends, but the presence of competition didn’t seem to matter a whole lot in the final tally for The Battle of the Five Armies.

Original Story: Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth finale The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies was already poised to garner a lot of mainstream attention, since both the storytelling and legal climate surrounding the classic Middle-earth saga by author J.R.R. Tolkien will likely see its final movie for a good long while bow in theaters this weekend. It looks as though that finale is getting even more attention than originally thought, if current box office estimates for the final weekend tally are to be believed.

According to VarietyThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is set to take in over $88 million within its first five days of opening. This places it far above the original estimate of just over $75 million, and would also make it the highest opening gross of all three Hobbit films. 2012’s An Unexpected Journey took in $84.6 million in its opening weekend, while last year’s The Desolation of Smaug took in $74.6 million. Presuming these numbers hold through tonight, that will make Battle the eighth highest-grossing opener of the year behind May’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Consequently, its also blowing other Christmas openers this year out of the water, with weekend openings for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb on track for a $19 million weekend total, while the remake of Annie is expected to bring in $18.5 million.

Part of the larger total in comparison to other Hobbit films and the fellow releases of the weekend lies in the fact that Battle opened wide on a Wednesday as opposed to a Friday, the day on which the first two Hobbit films were released in their respective release cycles. Still, this is quite a shot in the arm for the box office of 2014, which saw an overall drop in ticket sales when compared to 2013.

Last week’s box office champion, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, dropped to fifth place in its second week with a box office take of about $2.3 million, a 67% drop in ticket sales compared to last week.

For more on the weekend’s box office, keep an eye on GeekNation!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation, Batman-On-Film.com, The Huffington Post, and Movies.com. He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.