The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug has topped the US box office for a third week despite festive competition from The Wolf Of Wall Street.
The film took $30 million over the weekend, bringing its US total to $190 million.
Disney animation Frozen was at number two, switching places with Will Ferrell’s comedy Anchorman 2 at three.
Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street was the biggest new release, at five.
Marking the director’s fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio, the black comedy is based on stock broker Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same name.
The film took $19 million after opening at number two on Christmas Day with $9.15 million.
Analysts said it had suffered slightly due to its three-hour length – meaning it cannot be shown as many times in a day as its competitors.
The only other new entry in the top 10 was Keanu Reeves’ samurai film 47 Ronin, which weathered bad reviews to debut at number nine with $9.9 million.
Reuters reported that film company Universal had revised its profit estimates on Christmas Eve after it became apparent the film would not break even.
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug has topped the US box office for a third week despite festive competition from The Wolf Of Wall Street
With two days left to go, the North American Box Office is on track to beat last year’s record takings of $10.8 billion, said chart trackers Rentrak.
Rentrack estimated ticket sales would top $10.9 billion by the New Year, boosted by several award-friendly films in the Top 10.
Chief among them is American Hustle, which has already gained seven Golden Globe nominations.
Directed by David O. Russell, American Hustle stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, who appeared in his Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook, alongside Amy Adams and Christian Bale, from the similarly-lauded Russell drama The Fighter.
North American box office Top 5:
1.Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $30 million
2. Frozen – $28.9 million
3.Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – $20.2 million
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has topped the North American box office for a second consecutive weekend.
The second installment of Peter Jackson’s three-part Hobbit adaptation took $31.5 million.
It comfortably held off competition from Will Ferrell’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which made $26.8 million from Friday to Saturday.
The comedy has now taken $40 million since opening on Wednesday.
Anchorman 2 – which sees character Ron Burgundy join a 24-hour cable news network – performed better in its first weekend than its predecessor, which took $28.4 million in 2004.
Disney animation Frozen fell one place to three, taking $19.2 million.
Just behind was David O Russell’s crime drama American Hustle, taking $19.1 million in its first weekend of nationwide release after opening in six cinemas last week.
American Hustle, staring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, is loosely based on a real-life 1970s bribery scandal that led to the conviction of seven members of the US Congress and several local and federal officials.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has topped the North American box office for a second consecutive weekend
Saving Mr. Banks finished in fifth place in its first weekend of wide release, taking $9.3 million.
The $35 million production tells the story of how Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, brought Mary Poppins to the big screen.
The number nine spot was grabbed by a surprisingly strong start for Dhoom 3, setting a North American box office opening record for a Bollywood film, taking $3.3 million.
Total US box office takings for 2013 have risen 0.8% in the last year to almost $10.37 billion according to box office tracker Rentrak.
It is expected to surpass last year’s record of $10.77 billion thanks to a number of Christmas Day releases.
Leonardo DiCaprio drama The Wolf of Wall Street, Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin are among the films to open on Wednesday.
North American box office Top 5:
1.Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $31.5 million
2.Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – $26.8 million
Hobbit sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, has topped the US box office, taking $73.7 million, according to initial estimates.
However, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was down on the first Hobbit installment, which took $84.6 million in its opening weekend last year.
Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros admitted the takings “could have been a little better”.
He said bad weather in the east of the country “probably took a couple million dollars out of my pocket”.
“But our box office will survive. We are right on target to do very similar numbers to the last Hobbit, which grossed $1 billion worldwide [overall],” Dan Fellman said.
Disney animation Frozen moved down into second place taking $22.2 million in its third weekend. The film has made $164.4 million in the US since its release.
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas came in third place with $16.2 million. Box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said he thought bad weather would also have affected the film’s takings as Tyler Perry’s films normally open in the $20 million range.
Hobbit sequel, The Desolation of Smaug, has topped the US box office, taking $73.7 million
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was in fourth place with $13.2 million.
Catching Fire has now grossed $739.9 million, surpassing the box office total for the first film which took $691 million.
Thor: The Dark World remained in the top five with $2.7 million, bringing its US domestic haul to $198.1 million.
In sixth place was Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, taking $2.3 million in its second weekend.
Disney comedy Delivery Man, starring Vince Vaughn, was at seven in its fourth weekend, with Philomena at eight ahead of The Book Thief.
Homefront, starring Jason Statham and James Franco, rounded out the top 10.
David O Russell’s American Hustle opened in just six locations but took $690,000. It will be on general release in the US on January 1st, 2014.
As the year draws to a close Paul Dergarabedian said the yearly box office total looked like it will eclipse 2012’s $10.8 billion box office record.
North American box office Top 5:
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – $73.7 million
2. Frozen – $22.2 million
3. Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas – $16.2 million
4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – $13.2 million
Weinstein brothers, Bob and Harvey, are suing Warner Bros over its decision to divide The Hobbit into three films, which will mean they receive no payment from the second and third installments.
Miramax, founded by Weinstein brothers, sold its rights to The Hobbit to New Line, part of the Warner group, in 1998.
New Line agreed to make payments for the “first motion picture” only.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein claim the studio adapted the book into three films “solely to deprive plaintiffs” of agreed revenue.
Weinstein brothers are suing Warner Bros over its decision to divide The Hobbit into three films
“This case is about greed and ingratitude,” said the Weinsteins and Miramax, in a complaint filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court.
The film producers are suing Time Warner Inc for at least $75 million, alleging Warner Bros’ decision to create a trilogy of films from JRR Tolkien’s standalone novel was a pretext to deprive them of 5% of the gross receipts from the last two films.
A spokesman for Warner Bros accused the Weinsteins of “one of the great blunders in movie history”.
“Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact,” said Paul McGuire.
“They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that’s all they’re owed.”
The second instalment of The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, is due to be released worldwide on Friday.
The first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in 2012 and grossed more than $1 billion.
Frozen has topped the US box office chart in its second week of release.
According to early estimates, Frozen took $31.6 million over the weekend, with the Hunger Games: Catching Fire sequel slipping to second place with $27 million.
The only new wide release was Out of the Furnace, which took $5.3 million to earn third place.
The steel-town drama stars Christian Bale and Casey Affleck.
Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man rounded out the top five.
Despite opening in just four cinemas the Coen brothers’ latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, scored one of the year’s highest per-cinema averages, taking $100,500.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom continued to play in four cinemas in its second week of limited release, averaging $19,400 per cinema.
Frozen has topped the US box office chart in its second week of release
Producer Harvey Weinstein has said he will not alter the film’s release date to take advantage of Nelson Mandela’s death to boost sales for his biopic.
The film is due to be rolled out to about 850 cinemas on Christmas Day.
With Oscar season approaching, the website stated Weinstein was “keen to shun” any suggestions he had acquired the film recently “with an eye to Mandela being close to his demise”, adding he had acquired the rights to make it in 1999.
The weekend was typically quiet placed between Thanksgiving and Christmas, however takings were still up 16.9% on last year.
Next week sees the release of Peter Jackson’s second Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of the Smaug.
The first, An Unexpected Journey, debuted with $84.6 million last year.
The Hobbit trilogy has reportedly cost $561 million so far, double the amount spent on the three movies in the The Lord of the Rings series.
The figure includes the major 266 days of filming with actors that was completed last year, although it doesn’t include an additional two months or so of “pick-up” shoots done this year. There will likely also be additional post-production costs as the next two movies are completed.
Through March 31, production had cost 676 million New Zealand dollars, or $561 million at current exchange rates, according to financial documents filed Friday in New Zealand, where the movies are being made.
Distributor Warner Bros. and director Peter Jackson may consider it money well spent. To date, only the first movie in the latest trilogy has been released.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took in just over $1 billion at the box office.
The Hobbit trilogy has cost $561 million so far, double the amount spent on the three movies in the The Lord of the Rings series
The documents, filed online by New Zealand’s Companies Office, provide a rare insight into the exact costs of a blockbuster Hollywood production. Often studios release only rough estimates, if anything.
When making the trilogy, Warner Bros. created a wholly-owned New Zealand company it named 3 Foot 7 Ltd., in reference to the diminutive stature of the movie’s hobbits and dwarves. Company documents show that New Zealand taxpayers have so far contributed NZ$98 million to the trilogy through an incentive scheme designed to attract big budget movies to the country. Such schemes are common among U.S. states and foreign countries that compete for movies.
The trilogy also appears to be one of the most expensive movie productions in which two or more movies are shot at the same time.
Both Box Office Mojo and Guinness World Records estimate the most expensive single movie ever made was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with an estimated $300 million production tag. That movie, in conjunction with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – which was shot at the same time – held the previous record for the most expensive total production, costing an estimated $450 million to $525 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, Peter Jackson’s previous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, cost a total $281 million to make. The Star Wars prequel trilogy, meanwhile, cost $343 million, according to Box Office Mojo, which tracks movie costs and box office receipts.
In making The Hobbit, New Zealand director Peter Jackson chose to shoot both in 3D and at 48 frames per second, rather than the standard 24, in the hopes of giving audiences greater picture clarity and a more immersive experience. Both techniques added significant expense. The higher frames per second received mixed reviews, as did the movie itself, which starred Martin Freeman as the title character.
The trilogy is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel of the same name and traces the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he attempts to help a group of dwarves regain their wealth and stature from the dragon Smaug. The Hobbit is the precursor to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which was made into a movie trilogy that was also directed by Peter Jackson.
The second movie in the latest series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due out in December 2013 while the final movie, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is due out in December 2014.
Cinema-goers have complained of feeling sick and dizzy after watching early screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The Hobbit is the first to be shot using high-speed 3D cameras that capture twice the normal number of frames per second.
But some viewers said the filming techniques made them feel nauseous and even caused migraines.
The Sunday Times reported one “avid Middle Earth fan”, who had flown to New Zealand from Australia for the premiere, said: “My eyes cannot take everything in, it’s dizzying, now I have a migraine.”
Another fan tweeted: “It works for the big snowy mountains, but in close-ups the pictures strobes. I left loving the movie but feeling sick.”
The Sunday Times said one fan described having motion sickness similar to being on a rollercoaster.
They said: “You have to hold your stomach down and let your eyes pop at first to adjust. This is not for wimps.”
However, others praised the way the film – starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins – had been shot.
Hollywood director Bryan Singer wrote on Twitter after the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Wednesday: “Having some serious frame rate envy. Amazing and involving. Loved it!”
The 3D company that worked with Peter Jackson on the shoot said the new technology should actually stop people feeling ill.
Matt Cowan, chief scientist at RealD, told stuff.co.nz: “What you will experience is smoother motion.
“The effect you get for things like explosions is much more real.
“It is a great experiment and kudos to Peter Jackson for doing it.” The Hobbit – the first in a trilogy – is shot at a camera speed of 48 frames per second – double that normally used.
Cinema-goers have complained of feeling sick and dizzy after watching early screenings of The Hobbit
Critics did not react warmly to an unfinished version of the film describing it as looking like a “made for television BBC movie – so uncompromisingly real, slightly sped up, that it looked fake. It was jarring”.
The movie came under fire earlier this year after critics who had seen ten minutes of the unfinished film compared it to a made-for-television film.
Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as Gandalf in the film, defended it as ‘more exciting’ and said the 3D brings fans into Middle Earth.
Thousands of people crowded into central Wellington, New Zealand, for the chance to see some of the films stars including Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum.
The second film The Desolation of Smaug will be released in 2013 with There and Back Again released the following year.
What 48 frames per second means?
Movies have been filmed in 24 frame per second (fps) shots since 1927.
It means each second of picture contains 24 still images that create the illusion of movement when put in sequence.
American film director Doug Trumbull invented and promoted a 60 frame per second process called ShowScan 30 years ago but it was not widely used.
The new technology means every second of shot will contain 48 still images – and The Hobbit is the first major studio film to be shot at the higher rate.
The resulting movie should be clearer with images that look more details, “sharp”, and less blurred.
However, some critics have argued that the sharper image makes the film look too similar to television – which is shot at 50 fpm – and ruins the cinema experience.
Director Peter Jackson hopes more than 10,000 cinemas will be able to project the film at the higher frame rate.
But the vast majority of cinemas are currently only able to show the standard 24 fpm.
Therefore the film is being released in six different versions – 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX, all in both 24fps and 48fps.
Peter Jackson said the high speed of frames gives a “hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness” and also claims it cuts down eye strain from watching 3D.
Director James Cameron has said he wants to film the two sequels to his film Avatar at a higher frame rate than 24 frames per second, in order to add a heightened sense of reality.
Hobbit mania has erupted in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, for the world premiere of Peter Jackson’s new trilogy, The Hobbit.
The first of the three movies – prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy – was shown at Wellington’s Embassy Theatre on Wednesday evening.
Stars flew in for the event, which saw Wellington rebranded as “the Middle of Middle Earth”.
Tens of thousands of fans – some in costume – gathered around the theatre for the screening.
Some camped overnight to secure spots close to the 500m-long red carpet that led to the theatre, which was decorated to look like the entrance to a Hobbit house.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film of the trilogy, which altogether cost $500 million to make and was filmed in New Zealand. The second film is set for release in December 2013 and the third in July 2014.
Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson said it was “emotional and very humbling” to see such a crowd.
Ahead of the screening, the New Zealander said he was nervous about the film’s reception.
“Nothing’s ever perfect and it never will be; it’s a real mistake if you say we’re stopping now because we’ve made the perfect film,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“You never have and you never will.”
The world premiere of Peter Jackson’s new trilogy, The Hobbit, will take place at Wellington’s Embassy Theatre on Wednesday evening
Wellington City Council put months of planning and just over NZ$1 million ($820,000) into preparations for the premiere, Radio New Zealand reported, as did tourism officials looking to boost visitor numbers.
Tony Everitt, Asia manager for Tourism New Zealand, said he expected tourism revenue to rise by as much as US$400 million annually because of the films.
The trilogy has taken more than five years to film and hit a number of obstacles. Filming was delayed for months over funding problems and a row over actors’ wages – at one point studio executives suggested moving filming to Britain.
Earlier this week, Peter Jackson also rejected claims from animal rights group PETA that up to 27 animals had died during filming, saying no animals were harmed.
In Wellington, however, crowds turned out for a party. Up to 100,000 people were said to have gathered for the premiere.
The Hobbit movies producers are suing low-budget company The Asylum for trademark infringement, over its new film Age of the Hobbits.
Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, MGM and The Hobbit producer Saul Zaentz want to stop them using the word Hobbit in the title of the “knockoff film”.
They claim The Asylum is “free-riding” on the worldwide promotional campaign for Peter Jackson’s forthcoming films.
The company is behind a string of “mockbusters” inspired by hit movies.
Producers of The Hobbit called it an “intentional and willful attempt to trade on the popularity and goodwill” of both The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, and the JRR Tolkien novels they are based on.
Court papers obtained by The Hollywood Reporter have called Age of the Hobbits a “confusingly similar and misleading title”.
Producers want all infringing ad materials and packaging for The Asylum’s film to be destroyed, adding that it could “divert customers and potential customers away from the Hobbit films”.
The Asylum had already been threatened with legal action by the Hobbit studios and The Zaentz Co which controls trademark rights to the Tolkien book.
The protected phrase has been associated with Bilbo Baggins and his fellow Middle Earth creatures since the book was first published in 1937.
The Hobbit movies producers are suing low-budget company The Asylum for trademark infringement, over its new film Age of the Hobbits
Age of the Hobbits is due for DVD and online release on 11 December, three days before the US opening of the official Hobbit film.
The Asylum claims its movie is legally sound because its hobbits are not based on the Tolkien creations.
Before legal papers were officially filed the company said in a statement: “Age of the Hobbits is about the real-life human subspecies, Homo Floresiensis, discovered in 2003 in Indonesia, which have been uniformly referred to as <<Hobbits>> in the scientific community.”
It added that the term is therefore “protected under the legal doctrines of nominal and traditional fair use”.
The Asylum also suggests that a Google search of hobbits and archaeology would return dozens of articles containing the term.
Some of their previous “mockbusters” include Transmorphers, based on Michael Bay’s big budget movie Transformers, and The Da Vinci Treasure, which took its name from The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.
Based on the story of a big blockbuster they are made at a fraction of the cost and are usually released straight-to-DVD.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson says he is unsurprised by the mixed reaction to footage from his long-anticipated film The Hobbit presented at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas earlier this week.
“It wasn’t particularly surprising because it is something new,” Peter Jackson told the Hollywood Reporter.
He added: “Ultimately, it is different in a positive way, especially for 3D, especially for epic films.”
The 3D film has been shot at a rate of 48 frames per second, compared with the industry standard of 24 frames.
Peter Jackson says he is unsurprised by the mixed reaction to footage from his long-anticipated film The Hobbit presented at the CinemaCon
The 10 minutes of unfinished footage was criticized as uncinematic – with some detractors claiming it “looked like a made-for-TV movie”.
“It does take you a while to get used to,” admitted Peter Jackson.
“Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more.
“Another thing that I think is a factor is it’s different to look at a bunch of clips – and some were fast-cutting, montage-style clips. This is a different experience than watching a character and story unfold.”
Peter Jackson told the Hollywood Reporter that he had no plans to shoot a trailer for the film using the same 48-frame-per-second technique.
“The 48 frames is something you should experience with the entire film. A two-and-a-half minute trailer isn’t enough time to adjust to the immersive quality.”
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first chapter in Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy classic.
The two films were shot back-to-back in 3D, with the second part, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, due in cinemas in December 2013.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson believes the new filming format will take time for viewers to adjust to.
But added: “As another creative tool, I think it’s is a really important thing.
“Advocating that we have to stick with what we know, I think is a slightly narrow-minded way of looking at things when as an industry we are facing declining audiences.
“We have to find ways to make it more vibrant, more immersive – something that will encourage people to come back to the theatres for that experience.”
Warner Bros. presented 10 minutes of 3D footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48 frames per second at the CinemaCon 2012 convention in Las Vegas.
Director Peter Jackson said in a videotaped message that he hopes his movie can be played in 48fps in “as many cinemas as possible” when it opens December 14.
The Hobbit, the first major motion picture to be made at the higher frame rate, closed the Warner Bros. slate presentation Tuesday at CinemaCon.
The new film has been shot at a rate of 48 frames per second, compared with the industry standard of 24 frames.
Frame rate refers to the number of images displayed by a projector within one second. The cinema standard has been 24 fps for many decades. Jackson explained that in the early days of film, silent pictures were shown at an even lower frame rate – reducing the amount of film used – but it was bumped to 24 to support the requirements of sound.
However some attendees claimed the scenes looked like low-budget TV.
Warner Bros. presented 10 minutes of 3D footage from The Hobbit. An Unexpected Journey at 48 fps at the CinemaCon 2012
In a video introduction, Peter Jackson told the audience that using 48 frames per second produced a smoother image.
“The movement feels more real – it’s much more gentle on the eyes,” he said.
Peter Jackson said the new approach would take time to adjust to and some attendees agreed, branding the footage as a failure in digital technology.
The clips ranged from action sequences to quieter moments, including a dialogue sequence between Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and Gollum (Andy Serkis). The CinemaCon audience also saw the return of castmembers from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, including Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas).
The Los Angeles Times said the footage was “hyper-realistic”: “An opening aerial shot of dramatic rocky mountains appeared clearer than the images in most nature documentaries.
“But the effect was different when applied to scenes with actors dressed in period costume, whose every move – and pore – was crystal clear,” it added.
One projectionist told the newspaper it “looked like a made-for-TV movie”.
“It was too accurate – too clear. The contrast ratio isn’t there yet – everything looked either too bright or black,” they said.
However the Associated Press reported the footage was “vivid, with grass blades, facial lines and soaring mountains appearing luminous and pronounced. The actors looked almost touchable, as if they were performing live on stage”.
Other digital pioneers are making the same push for higher film speeds.
Avatar creator James Cameron has promised to shoot the sequel to his science-fiction blockbuster at 48 or 60 frames per second.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first chapter in Jackson’s two-part adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy classic.
The two films were shot back-to-back in 3D, with the second part, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, due in cinemas in December 2013.
On Tuesday, Sony announced that a software update for its digital cinema projection systems would support 48fps and be available in the fall. Sony expects the majority of its 13,000 installed 4K digital cinema projectors to support high frame rates by the time The Hobbit is released.
The Hobbit will also be available in 24 fps.
Peter Jackson’s Rings trilogy resulted in an estimated $2.9 billion at the global box office and a combined 17 Academy Awards.