Box office: Peter Jackson amasses another mountain of gold with the last 'Hobbit'
"The Battle of the Five Armies" laid waste to both Ben Stiller and little orphan Annie in the weekend before the holidays.
The third and final entry in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” — which finds noble dwarf Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) driven mad by his lust for gold — made a pretty penny this weekend, hoarding an estimated $56.2 million over the weekend, plus another $34.4 million from its appearances last Wednesday and Thursday.
That figure — sure to go up even further over the holiday break, when its biggest competition appears to be a Stephen Sondheim musical (“Into the Woods”) — will be added towards the booty stolen by “The Battle of the Five Armies”’ predecessors. The first film, “An Unexpected Journey,” grossed just over $1 billion globally, while the second, “The Desolation of Smaug,” made just under that amount.
In all likelihood, the final tally for the three films will wind up a hefty $3 billion — the kind of winnings one would store inside a mountain, to be protected by an angry but cunning talking dragon with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch.
Humongously profitable though these films have been, none of these films have had the accolades or the reviews of Jackson’s original Middle-earth films. The final “Lord of the Rings” entry, “The Return of the King,” even won the Oscar for Best Picture. “The Hobbit” films, meanwhile, have snatched up only technical awards, as well as criticisms about its sometimes desperate attempts to pad a slender children’s novel into a three-part, nine-hour film stocked with interchangeable dwarves. (Martin Freeman, for the record, has been deservedly praised for his work as Bilbo Baggins, even though he sometimes disappeared from the action.) But if these reactions hurt Jackson and company’s feelings, they can always take a long dip through their money, a la Scrooge McDuck.
In other, non-“Hobbit” news, another trilogy closed out, with “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” wrestling up a modest $17.3 million. And “Annie” — which is to say the part-black modernization of same, starring Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx — underperformed, with $16.3 million, which can perhaps be explained away by the fact that it found its way online as part of the major Sony hack.
Neither was as expensive as “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the latest Moses romp, starring Christian Bale. In its second week it took in a mere $8.1 million, which isn’t how movies that cost around $150 million are supposed to roll.
Top 5 earners:
1 ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ $56.2 million
2 ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” $17.3 million
3 ‘Annie’ $16.3 million
4 ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ $8.1 million
5 ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1’ $7.8 million