'The Hobbit' wins Christmas

Posted Dec 25, 2013 by Tim O'Brien
UPDATE: 12.26.13 - "The Hobbit" wins Christmas. At the box office, a movie that has been out for a while beat the newcomers, mainly "The Wolf of Wall Street."
A scene from  The Wolf of Wall Street  with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill
A scene from "The Wolf of Wall Street" with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill
© 2013 Paramount Pictures
"The Hobbit" made $9.3 million on Christmas while "Wolf" raked in $9.1 million. "Anchorman 2" was third with $8.1 million. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" was fourth with $7.8 million while "Grudge Match" fell flat so far with $3.9 million.
EARLIER: One may think it odd that people clamor to spend time with family on Christmas and then they leave to go to a movie, or head out to a local establishment. But it happens.
If the movie is seen with family, perhaps that makes sense. But, if not, then there may be another motive. Anyway, Christmas Day is big for movies and with the pickings, it makes it one crowded house.
Not to mention those out already. For example, "Anchorman 2" got an early jump and is doing some business, even though it could not beat the latest installment of "The Hobbit." It will be busy at the box office and the cash could be split when all is said and done. Judging from the theater counts, it looks like Ben Stiller's tour-de-force, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," will lead the way, but not so fast.
There is that nostalgia made into a modern day film here. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone plan to pack a punch or two with "Grudge Match." Think of it as "Rocky" vs "Raging Bull" if you will, and plenty will. So, the inside jokes and references will work or not. It all depends on the mood when watching. Let's face, even if "Rocky" is not familiar to the younger crowd, the drinking of the eggs and the punching of the meat is. It is hard not to get that reference. And the target audience gets it for sure.
Christmas Day
1. "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" - 2,909 theaters
2. "Grudge Match" - 2,838 theaters
3. "47 Ronin" - 2,688 theaters
4. "The Wolf of Wall Street" - 2,537 theaters
5. "Believe" - 1,037 theaters
But, can "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" take that higher theater count to a win? It is an odd one, this is. On one level, it should be big, but doesn't seem like it will get there. Something has got to tank with the glut of films out right now. A red flag always flies when the phrase "visually stunning" appears on a film. That usually means the story gets lost. We will see. If "Mitty" can prevail, the tank may come from "47 Ronin" starring Keanu Reeves.
Oh, and "Mitty" has been done before, with Danny Kaye way back when. With "The Wolf of Wall Street," hold on. It is a "Goodfellas" style ride and Martin Scorsese is hoping for the same result, or perhaps even more - an Oscar for its star, Leonardo DiCaprio. He has been trying to get him one. Along the way, Scorsese finally got his directed win. Anyway, if glut is used for the new releases, this one defines it further. Add in excess and it has it all - on that level.
Justin Bieber's "Believe" can't be ignored. Wait, yes it can. It is a concert film. A perfect item for the kids to go to while the adults stay home and talk on Christmas Day. But, retirement talk is also a nice way to boost this film, too. In show business, it is a ploy to plot the comeback.
An interesting sidebar may be developing. Is "Frozen" the one film that may have more holiday appeal than the others? Now, it shouldn't beat the newcomers, but can it beat the likes of "Anchorman 2"? The real holiday treat is seeing where this popular animated film ends up come Sunday and Monday.