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Weekend Report (cont.): Final 'Night at the Museum' Narrowly Tops 'Annie'

by Ray Subers
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
 

 
December 21, 2014

<< Continued from "Weekend Report: 'Hobbit' Emerges Victorious in Final Box Office 'Battle'"

Playing at 3,785 locations, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb opened to $17.1 million this weekend.

That's a fraction of the last movie's $54.2 million debut, though that did open over Memorial Day weekend (when the opening frame is much more significant). A better comparison is the first Night at the Museum, which earned $30.4 million on the same weekend back in 2006.

More recent comparisons are Fox three-quels The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which opened to $24 million and $23.2 million, respectively. If the final Night at the Museum follows the same pattern as those movies, it will wind up with less than $100 million total.

The second Night at the Museum movie earned 29 percent less than the first, which suggested that the novelty of the original movie had quickly worn off. Waiting five-and-a-half years until the next installment—and doing little to differentiate the movie, aside from an obligatory location shift—isn't really a great approach. It also doesn't help that Ben Stiller's brand has taken a bit of a hit in recent years: his last four live-action movies are Little Fockers, Tower Heist, The Watch and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, none of which are held in high esteem.

According to 20th Century Fox, the movie's audience was 51 percent male and 54 percent under the age of 25. They awarded the movie a "B+" CinemaScore, which is on par with the last installment in the franchise.

Sony/Columbia's remake of Annie (2014) opened to $15.9 million at 3,116 locations this weekend. That ranks eighth all-time among movie musicals—just behind Muppets Most Wanted. Among family-friendly pre-Christmas releases, Annie opened well above movies like Saving Mr. Banks and Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and was essentially on par with Yogi Bear ($16.4 million).

The movie's audience was primarily families (76 percent), and also skews heavily female (70 percent). While reviews are horrible, word-of-mouth seems more positive: the movie received an "A-" CinemaScore. Even with tough competition from Into the Woods coming up, Annie should play well through the holiday season. It will likely top $80 million, and could even reach $100 million.

Exodus: Gods and Kings
was given the benefit of the doubt coming off a so-so opening weekend; it was a December release, after all, and would likely hold up well through the holiday. After its second weekend, though, it's safe to call this a flop.

Ridley Scott's Biblical epic plummeted 66 percent to $8.1 million; that drop is on par with The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Golden Compass (68 percent and 66 percent, respectively), which are the most front-loaded December releases in recent memory. Exodus was plagued by poor reviews and mixed word-of-mouth, and faced a ton of tough competition this weekend (specifically from The Hobbit). It's now earned $38.9 million, and is going to struggle to reach $70 million total.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
eased 38 percent to $7.9 million. Through its fifth weekend, the penultimate chapter in the franchise has grossed $289.4 million, and remains on track to wrap up with over $330 million (which means it will essentially tie Guardians of the Galaxy).

After two weeks in limited release, Wild (2014) expanded to 1,061 theaters this weekend. It took in $4.11 million, which is a strong result for a platform release at this time of year. The release pattern on this is nearly identical to fellow Fox Searchlight movie Black Swan, though Wild is consistently earning less than half as much as Swan; if it continues to follow this pattern, it could wind up in the $40 to $50 million range.

Top Five
expanded to 1,307 locations, but was off 48 percent anyway. The Chris Rock comedy added $3.59 million to bring its total to $12.5 million; even with the holidays coming up, it would be surprising if this passed $30 million.

Bollywood comedy P.K. cracked the Top 10 this weekend with an impressive $3.57 million debut. That's above Dhoom 3, which opened to $3.4 million on this same weekend last year (and also starred Aamir Khan). That movie went on to earn $8 million total, which is a likely outcome for P.K. as well.

Foxcatcher
expanded to 307 locations and added $954,000 this weekend. So far, the Sony Classics awards contender has earned $4.4 million total.

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

Forecast:
Will Moviegoers Show Up One Last Time for 'The Hobbit'?


Last Weekend
'Exodus' is Weak King

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2013 - Burgundy Beaten by Bilbo
• 2012 - 'Hobbit' Plummets, Holds Off Slew of Newcomers
• 2011 - 'M:I-4' Sizzles Over Solid Christmas Weekend
• 2010 - 'Fockers' Fester, 'Grit' Has Gumption
• 2009 - Christmas Booms with 'Avatar,' 'Sherlock,' 'Alvin'
• 2008 - 'Marley' Retrieves Box Office Luster Over Christmas
• 2007 - 'National Treasure' Leads Christmas Rush
• 2005 - 'King Kong' Clings to Christmas Top Spot Over 'Chronicles'


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