World Box Office Dec 29 – Jan 4
2014 was not a good year for the box office, with revenues down more than 5 per cent and attendance at a 20 years low. Continuing Hollywood’s Christmas comeback, however, this weekend concluded the 2014 holiday season and rang in the New Year with a distinctly positive note. North American box office numbers are up 5.5% from this time last year after strong performances from several holdovers as well as newcomer The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death.
Two years after the release of the original Woman In Black, which had the distinction of featuring Daniel Radcliffe in his first leading role since the conclusion of the Harry Potter series, Angel of Death earned $15.1 million in its New Year’s weekend launch at the North American box office, coming in fourth. Though it is still behind the original’s $20.8 million debut, U.S. distributor Relativity Media will be thrilled with the turnaround from their
$1 million purchase.
Leading the pack of unrelenting holdovers is thrice-consecutive domestic chart topper The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. This time around Peter Jackson’s diminutive heroes took $21.9 million from the U.S. box office, skipping past another century mark to reach a domestic cumulative of $220.7 million. International audiences were just as eager to take their last trip to Middle-earth. The Warner Bros. tent pole made $52.5 million from its 65 international territories to arrive at a terrific $502.1 million overseas cumulative. Its combined total is now $722.86 million. With its continued success both at home and abroad as well as its upcoming Chinese release January 23, Five Armies stands a decent chance of moving past The Desolation of Smaug and may even join An Unexpected Journey in the billion-dollar pictures club.
Fellow epic Exodus: Gods and Kings kept with its pattern of picking up accolades around the world while failing to impress in its home market. Ridley Scott’s $140 million dollar rendition of the saga of Moses grossed $31.5 million from its 51 international territories, yet it took home just $3.7 million at the U.S. box office. A Russian opening of $8 million as well as a $1.2 million launch in Central America made up the bulk of this film’s weekend gains.
Taken 3 had a limited release in two markets, South Korea and Hong Kong, taking $9.48 million from the two East Asian nations. After saving his daughter and then being kidnapped himself, Liam Neeson will have to avenge his wife’s murder in the conclusion to this action series from writer and producer Luc Besson.
Back on the U.S. market Unbroken and Into the Woods finished neck and neck again to round out the domestic top 3. In a reversal from last week, Disney’s star-studded musical fairytale amalgamation won the contest with a $19 million North American take. Just like its heroic protagonist, Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, Unbroken refused to give up the chase and ended the frame just a hair short with an $18.3 million domestic take.
Fifth place on the domestic chart went to Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Fox’s third take on the Ben Stiller led vaguely historical comedy produced $14.5 million in its third weekend at home. It had a foreign take of $26 million from 56 markets including highlights in Brazil ($3.1 million) Mexico ($4 million) and the UK ($2.9 million.)
Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper’s American Sniper began its transition out of the specialty market with a full-scale launch on 425 screens in Italy. It made $6.3 million in its first weekend in wide release, and is Mr. Eastwood’s biggest opening yet in the country that launched his celebrated career with Sergio Leone’s legendary spaghetti westerns.
Bollywood darling Amir Khan set a handful of impressive records in this first frame of the year. His latest film, PK, reached $9.6 million in the North American market over this past week, becoming the biggest Bollywood film in the U.S. to date, as well as its most successful foreign picture of 2014. No less impressive is its performance at home in India. With close to $100 million cumulative, PK is Bollywood’s highest grossing film of all time.
Next week in the U.S. crime farce Inherent Vice and Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma will go into wide release along with Taken 3.