The December box office for the final month of 2012 kept the turnstiles moving from a top-notch November. While many of these movies will carry their action into January 2013, it’s not too soon to name the box office winners and losers for the month of December 2012. Led by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we’ve got some good and some bad to talk about.
DECEMBER 2012 BOX OFFICE WINNERS
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey— The first of three The Hobbit chapters from director Peter Jackson set the December record for opening weekend gross with an $84.6 million debut. It has gone on to gross over $222 million domestically with plenty of steam to challenge for $300 million plus. It was the clearest December winner. (my full review)
Skyfall— I’ve got a November release sneaking into the winners category before I even get to other December releases, and rightfully so. Just this past weekend, Skyfall crossed the $1 billion mark in worldwide grosses, easily the highest grossing James Bond movie of all-time. Here in North America, it’s knocking on the $300 million door with $289 million and change. While Bond movies typically perform well, the huge numbers for Skyfall are one of the year’s biggest surprises. (my full review)
Django Unchained and Les Miserables— The competition for the Christmas holiday dollar is always a tight one, but these two came out of top with almost identical numbers. Both opened between $28-30 million and both have grossed over $64 million total with Les Miserables up by a nose. We’ll see which one has staying power. (Django Unchained review)
Lincoln— The other November release after Skyfall that has demonstrated staying power is Steven Spielberg’s Presidential drama. Grossing over $132 million and counting, this one will keep steaming through the Oscar season and pick up even more. (my full review)
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
Rise of the Guardians— While a $90 million and counting total gross is far from Pixar-level grosses, but it’s still worth a decent tally for this holiday entry. Not a loss, but not a total win, it’s right in the middle.
Parental Guidance— I think, on paper, most folks would figure that The Guilt Trip would be the one Christmas comedy release to do a little box office damage, but old school Billy Crystal and Bette Midler topped Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand. It’s opening $14.8 million gross this past weekend was good enough for fourth place and a slot ahead of This is 40 and Jack Reacher.
TOO SOON TO TELL
Jack Reacher and This is 40— With December being so back-loaded, it’s hard to tell how a few of the movies opening will demonstrate staying power moving forward. For these two high-profile Christmas releases, the opening far behind Django Unchained and Les Miserables, but still have decent numbers to show for their efforts. Jack Reacher‘s $44 million total is higher than This is 40‘s $37 million, but it’s too soon to call them complete losers. (Jack Reacher review) (This is 40 review)
DECEMBER 2012 BOX OFFICE LOSERS
Playing for Keeps— This one will go down as one of the biggest box office and critical bombs of the year. Garnering a terrible 4% Rotten Tomatoes score, it has grossed a paltry $12 million and change. Just bad from all directions.
The Guilt Trip— As I started to discuss with Parental Guidance, The Guilt Trip from the director of The Proposal was the odd movie out. It was the lowest grossing of the late December pack.
Cirque Du Soleil: World’s Away— This experiment in high-end 3D was a non-starter on Christmas when audience had so many other flashier choices.
Silver Linings Playbook— While I personally loved this movie and understand the studio’s Oscar plan to build on word of mouth and expand slowly, I think that process is happening too slow. They moved Silver Linings Playbook up a week in the first place back in November to separate from the busy Thanksgiving weekend. In four weeks since, it hasn’t capitalized on the extremely good reviews and has only grossed $27 million. It’s good enough to be a big $100 million hit. In this day and age of instant gratification and “what have you done for me lately” mentality, the only advance build-up you need is only a week or two. This entire month of December has been a lost opportunity. It had two weeks between Thanksgiving and the huge opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 14th to seize an opening playing field and wasted it’s chance. It still might make good money, but I’m going to call it a loser for the month. (my full review)
There’s your “December in Review” report. Stay tuned for a January preview and a full “2013 Winter Movie Preview” coming soon! Happy New Year!