It was a weekend dominated by holiday sequels, and although they had a decent turn out, there wasn't much room for holiday cheers by franchise box office standards.
Number one went, not surprisingly, to the third and final installation The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. While it only earned $56 million over the opening weekend, well below the $84 million and $73 million openings of the first and second Hobbit films respectively, it's not a fair direct comparison. The first two films opened on Fridays, while the third debuted Wednesday meaning much of its initial audience was burned off before the weekend even arrived.
The next best comparison for the three films will come after the movie's second weekend when the 12-day totals for all three can be put side by side, but at first glance it looks like The Battle for the Five Armies will be, if narrowly, the worst performer of the trilogy. Unlike the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which each movie outperformed the last, The Hobbit series, while still financially successful, have struggled to keep domestic audiences coming back for more with each release.
Likewise, the third entry in the Night at the Museum franchise rolled out, but not to great financial success. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opened in second place with $17 million. That's well behind the first movie which debuted in 2006 with $30 million, and the more successful sequel Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which hit $54 million opening weekend in 2009.
While this third entry did have the challenge of opening in The Hobbit's shadow, its under-performance (the movie had a pricey $127 million production price tag which will depend heavily on international support to recover), partnered with the tragic loss of one of the franshise's highlights, Robin William's performance as Teddy Roosevelt, it might be a good time to let the sun rise on the Night at the Museum for good.
Museum antics barely nudged out the latest re-imagining of Annie which settled for a narrow third place with $16 million. That's a tough hit for a movie with a $65 million budget and not a lot of expectations for success in international markets.
Sneaking into tenth place with a very limited domestic release was P.K.. A sort of an Indian mashup of Mr. Bean and Forrest Gump, the movie didn't get a massive marketing push in North America but still banked over $3 million in fewer than 300 venues.
For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below:
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies *
$56,220,000Total: $90,627,000LW: N
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb *
$17,300,000Total: $17,300,000LW: N
Annie (2014) *
$16,300,000Total: $16,300,000LW: N
Exodus: Gods and Kings
$8,065,000Total: $38,902,000LW: 1
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
$7,750,000Total: $289,227,000LW: 2
$4,150,000Total: $7,211,000LW: 10
$3,570,000Total: $12,456,000LW: 4
Big Hero 6
$3,563,000Total: $190,441,000LW: 5
Penguins of Madagascar
$3,525,000Total: $64,172,000LW: 3
$3,461,000Total: $3,461,000LW: N
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