December 2013 Box Office Preview

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Finally, the month of December arrives, with all the studios hoping that they can find an audience during the long Christmas season, and hoping to bring the box office to a record year. December is as packed as always, and right here, you can expect to see a brief analysis on every single film heading for nationwide release this coming month. Once again, if you would like to instead see a more detailed analysis, feel free to check back weekly. If you would would to have our thoughts on the top 10 grosses for November and December, click this link here to read the site’s Holiday Season Box Office Preview. With no more time wasted, let’s begin looking at the upcoming films in the final month of 2013.

Here are the films you can expect this coming month, in terms of release date:
December 6th 2013- Out of the Furnace
December 13th 2013- Tyler Perry’s A Madea’s Christmas, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
December 18th 2013- Anchorman: The Legend Continues, American Hustle
December 20th 2013- Saving Mr. Banks, Walking with Dinosaurs
December 25th 2013- 47 Ronin, Believe, Grudge Match, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Wolf of Wall Street

The month starts proper with Out of the Furnace, which opens in a limited engagement first on December 4th before opening nationwide on December 6th. Marketing has been limited, though the cast cannot be smirked at- it contains Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, and many more names you probably would have heard about. Another R rated violent film also hit theaters around the same time last year, Killing Them Softly, and bombed with just $15 million. None of the cast might be as well known as Pitt, but with much more decent reviews (80%), this film might end up surprising in the usually quiet spot on the pre-Christmas post-Thanksgiving calendar. Maybe around $10-$12 million opening would be good enough, being two times bigger than Killing Them Softly.

Things start to pick up rapidly on the second weekend, which happens to see comedy master Tyler Perry pit out against fan-favourite The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Tyler Perry’s A Madea’s Christmas brings back Tyler Perry in his popular role of Madea, and films with that name attached usually do better than the rest of his films. His Madea films, for instance, have grossed between $25 million and $41 million, and with this film having a strong holiday theme which fits in perfectly with the incoming Christmas period, I expect this film to open a bit bigger than the average Madea film and have strong legs approaching Christmas. Perhaps an opening at around $30 million is possible for now. Meanwhile, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug comes approximately a year after the first film did not dazzle or impress as much as the original Lord of the Rings did. The film came with a decent review, but was met with quite a bit of criticism. Yes, his original Lord of the Rings films might have earned more and more with each coming installment, but this will not likely be the case here, with the film being down slightly from the first of the three Hobbit films. The first film opened to $84.6 million at around the same period, so I am expecting a bit more front-loadedness ($90-$100 million), before tailing off much faster and reaching a peak of $280 million.

That third weekend will have two films opening early on Wednesday, American Hustle and Anchorman: The Legend Continues, before they have to face off against fiercer competition come Friday, when Walking With Dinosaurs and Saving Mr. Banks premiere.

American Hustle is the next David O. Russel film which stars his two Silver Linings stars yet again. That film impressed even though it’s earlier limited engagement turned out to be disappointing, eventually becoming a word-of-mouth hit which garnered a best actress Oscar trophy for none other than Jennifer Lawrence. However, Lawrence is having a smaller role, but that might not mean that the film will not be that attractive. After all, the premise definitely seems more exciting, and the cast has been significantly expanded to include several familiar faces from Christian Bale to Jeremy Renner to Amy Adams. Marketing has been consistent, and with this film playing out like an Oscar front-runner, it can hopefully earn as much as Silver Linings Playbook. An opening in the mid $10 million range is currently predicted by me, but the numbers might change after the theater counts are released.
Anchorman: The Legend Continues is one of the biggest and most anticipated comedies of the year, thanks to the well-known cast and the good will the original film has found itself in home theatrical systems. Now being really buzzed about, Paramount has definitely whetted fan’s appetites by releasing the teaser trailer much earlier than expected (even last year). Marketing has been ramped up, and this film might even prove to be bigger than Hangover Part III ever was. Of course, the Christmas season might limit numbers a bit, but an opening above $40 million seems possible, and an end gross in the range of high $100 million- $200 million.
Walking With Dinosaurs opens close to a month after Frozen, and unless Frozen holds remarkably well, the Christmas season would be light on kids’ entertainment for the time being. Walking With Dinosaurs could definitely ring a bell with children and with it’s attractive appeal, I can perceive this to at least be a minor hit. I am currently suggesting around $18 million at opening for an end gross in the range of $80-$90 million.
The final film releasing on that weekend would be Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks would most likely be appearing in his second Oscar worthy performance of the year, and Disney is definitely hoping that the history of Disney would appeal to the masses and children. However, I don’t see this marketing appealing that much to me, so I am currently expecting around $15 million for an end gross in the $70 million range.

The final weekend of the year, Christmas, is the busiest yet, with 5 additional films jumping into the theatrical circuit trying to vie for attention- Believe, 47 Ronin, Grudge Match, Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Believe is the second concert movie (?) from Justin Bieber, who has seen his luck run out in recent years after his especially bad showing throughout his concert leg this year. His popularity is dwindling, and this film opens in the midst of all those mess. The film will definitely not match One Direction’s concert movie gross, due to his dwindling popularity and the tranquil of Christmas box office, but we will definitely see an opening in the $8 million range. End gross? Perhaps $20-$30 million.
47 Ronin is the only fantasy adventure film in theaters this weekend (unless you consider Secret Life of Walter Mitty one), but it somehow reminds me of Man With the Iron Fists at first sight. Hopefully, that will not be the case here, with much more CGI, and the return of Keanu Reeves to the genre. I can foresee an opening in the $10 million range, a slight disappointment.
Grudge Match is none other than the fight between Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro. Just the thought of these two people fighting will already make masses turn up for this film. This film will definitely benefit from their respective fan bases, but in an already packed Christmas season, the film might be affected negatively. I can see an opening in the $7 million range.
Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by Ben Stiller, might see itself as an adventure, but marketing has been confusing at least to me, and reviews have not been that decent. It can definitely play like a family film, but competition from Walking With Dinosaurs might hinder the film from truly breaking out. At least I expect this film to be bigger.
The Wolf of Wall Street has been long delayed, with it being pushed back over a month in order for more cuts to be made to both screen time and to lower the rating to R. Moviegoers are promised a lot of Leonardo DiCaprio in yet another high quality piece of work which might turn out to be an Oscar powerhouse. This film might open in the $20 million range, but anything above that? I can’t see that happening.

With all these said and done, here are my current estimates for opening weekend, and end gross for the above films. Please note that the first figures towards the left are the opening weekend estimates, while the figures on it’s right are end gross estimates:

Out of the Furnace-$11 million- $32 million end gross
Tyler Perry’s A Madea’s Christmas- $31 million- $89 million end gross
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- $97 million- $275 million end gross
American Hustle- $14 million- $89 million end gross
Anchorman: The Legend Continues- $43 million- $198 million end gross
Walking With Dinosaurs- $18 million- $89 million end gross
Saving Mr. Banks- $15 million- $68 million end gross
Believe- $8 million- $23 million end gross
47 Ronin- $10 million- $41 million end gross
Grudge Match- $7 million- $37 million end gross
Wolf of Wall Street- $28 million- $126 million end gross
Secret Life of Walter Mitty- $21 million- $97 million end grossThat’s all for now! Check back soon for more box office updates and movie reviews!

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