On the last weekend of 2012, audiences crowded in to theaters to see three very different movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey managed to take the top spot for the third weekend in a row, though Django Unchained and Les Miserables also tallied impressive numbers. The Top 12 wound up earning an estimated $164.5 million, which helped push overall 2012 domestic box office to just under $10.8 billion (a new record). The Hobbit dipped 14 percent to $31.93 million. The movie has been holding well over the past week (noticeably better than I Am Legend over the same period in 2007), and $300 million seems like it could be in play again. Through 17 days, the first of three Lord of the Rings prequels has grossed $221.6 million, which is in between Fellowship of the Ring ($189.3 million) and The Two Towers ($243.6 million).
In second place, Django Unchained earned $30.1 million from 3,010 locations in its first weekend. Including its Tuesday-to-Thursday revenues, Django has already grossed $63.4 million; in comparison, Inglourious Basterds was at $50.6 million at the same point. Assuming it doesn't completely crash in the next few weeks (and with an "A-" CinemaScore, there's no reason to expect it to), Django will pass Basterds ($120.5 million) to become writer-director Quentin Tarantino's highest-grossing movie ever.
After starting stronger than Django on Christmas, Les Miserables has trailed off slightly over the last few days. Still, the musical did great business this weekend with $27.3 million from 2,808 theaters. Through six days its earned $66.7 million, and with a handful of Academy Award nominations on the way it should at least double that amount by the end of its run. Les Miserables's female audience (67 percent) awarded it a rare "A+" CinemaScore, and overall audiences gave it an "A".
In fourth place, family comedy Parental Guidance earned $14.55 million from 3,367 locations. With $29.3 million since Christmas Day, the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy is clearly the top choice for families with younger children this season ahead of Monsters, Inc.'s 3D re-release ($18.5 million with six more days under its belt). Parental Guidance's audience was 52 percent female and 55 percent under the age of 25, and they gave it a solid "A-" CinemaScore.
Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher dipped 11 percent to $13.6 million, which was good for fifth place this weekend. Through 10 days, the Christopher McQuarrie adaptation has grossed $44.2 million, which is off from Valkyrie's $57.6 million total at the same point. This Is 40 improved eight percent to $12.5 million, bringing its 10-day total to $36.4 million. Judd Apatow's latest is going to have no problem out-grossing Funny People ($51.9 million), and should even get to Forgetting Sarah Marshall's level ($63.2 million). Lincoln continued to impress in its seventh weekend in nationwide release: Steven Spielberg's biopic of the 16th president was up 33 percent to $7.3 million for a new total of $131.9 million. With awards attention likely to buoy the movie through at least the month of January, Lincoln still has a lot more box office left to rack up.
Thanks to The Avengers, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph and now Lincoln, 2012 is officially Disney's highest-grossing year ever with over $1.53 billion. Silver Linings Playbook grossed $4.1 million in its first weekend in nationwide release. It's still only in 745 theaters, though, and The Weinstein Company will likely expand it much further following Academy Award nominations on January 10. To date, the David O. Russell comedy has earned $27.3 million. Zero Dark Thirty remained in the same five theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, and as a result it dipped 24 percent to an estimated $316,415. Through 12 days, the controversial CIA thriller has grossed $1.37 million, and will expand to more theaters this weekend ahead of its Jan. 11 nationwide expansion.
Gus Van Sant's Promised Land, which stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, debuted at 25 locations and earned a very weak $173,915. The movie will expand to around 1,500 screens on Friday, though it's unlikely that it will be able to pull many people away from the various other appealing options in theaters right now.