The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey broke records, but did not hit the mark that box office watchers expected it to. It stormed its way into theaters for its premiere weekend and banked $84 million. How does a film earn that much and is still considered a weaker opening than expected?
The first chapter of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy easily broke the previous holder of the highest grossing December weekend record — I am Legend. Back in 2007, that Will Smith starring movie earned $77 million in its opening weekend.
The issue is that pundits thought The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey would topple $100 million in its first weekend. After the anticipation that had built up over the years since Return of the King ruled the world, surely that marker could have been attainable. And one could argue that less people saw the film than the numbers suggest due to the increased ticket prices for IMAX and 3D.
Family film Rise of the Guardians managed to land in second place with $7.4 in its fourth week of release, probably due to the lack of a true family film out there. The announcement of the Golden Globe nominations and how Lincoln grabbed seven probably helped its weekend box office, as it landed in third adding another $7.2 million to its $107.9 million total.
Fourth place featured last week’s number one, Skyfall. The latest edition of the 007 saga earned $7 million, bringing its total to an astonishing $272.4 million. Closing out the top five is the slowly-building success of Life of Pi. Ang Lee’s 3D epic, perhaps also buoyed by Golden Globe nods, banked $5.4 million in its fourth week of release.
Box office Top 10:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, $84.8 million
2. Rise of the Guardians, $7.4 million
3. Lincoln, $7.2 million
4. Skyfall, $7 million
5. Life of Pi, $5.4 million
6. Breaking Dawn Part 2, $5.1 million
7. Wreck-It Ralph, $3.3 million
8. Playing for Keeps, $3.2 million
9. Red Dawn, $2.4 million
10. Silver Linings Playbook, $2.1 million
It looks like Peter Jackson will be making a third Hobbit film after all. At least, that’s what he’s decided he wants to do, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the past few days, logistical talks have “accelerated” between the director, his producing partners and Warner Bros., who would be open to the idea if the finances worked out.
Jackson suggested he’d be interested in a third film a couple weeks ago and has since been figuring out when the production would have to come back to do reshoots, how many of the actors would need to come back, when they’d need to come back, and how much all of that would cost. All of that is almost in order. Read more after the jump.
A source told The Hollywood Reporter that if a third film is to be made out of The Hobbit, a decision would have to be made soon but that talks “have accelerated in recent days, with the studio on board if the right financial arrangements can be achieved:”
If we’re going to do it, we have to make a decision soon. It’s strongly driven by the filmmakers’ desire to tell more of the story.
Jackson has already told a lot of story. Besides three award-winning Lord of the Rings films set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe, he released extended versions of each, and always aimed at turning the simpler prequel to those, The Hobbit, into two films (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is scheduled for release December 14 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will be out December 13, 2014. These plans would not change that time table).
If Warner Bros. decides everything looks good, additional filming would take place during the Summer of 2013 in New Zealand for about two months. There are apparently even some more rights issues that would have to be settled if this was to happen.
In a recent article on this over at Deadline, Jackson explained how he can take a book that’s so short and make it not only two books, but three:
Warner Bros. has released an image of Richard Armitage as Thoren Oakenshield, who led a force of a dozen dwarves (and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins) on the Quest of Erebor. This completes the brave company of adventurers from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is due to be released on December 14th, 2012.
The Oakenshield still was released to The One Ring.net and the Tolkien mavens there were raving about Thorin’s sword, Orcrist the Goblin-cleaver, which is prominently displayed in the photo, and it appears just the kind of weapon required in a vast and dangerous task such as reclaiming the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the Dragon.
For images of Thorin’s 12 dwarf companions see: “Balin and Dwalin: More Dwarves From the Hobbit” for Balin and Dwalin, “New Still Shows 3 Dwarves From The Hobbit” for Ori, Dori and Nori, “More Hobbit Dwarves” for Bombur, Bofur, Bifur, Kili, and Fili, and “Two More Hobbit Dwarves Revealed” for Oin and Gloin. For images of Bilbo and Gandolph see “Here’s What The Hobbit Will Look Like.”
At this point what more is there to say about yet another dwarf reveal from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? (Other than, perhaps, “uh, where’s Thorin?”) Here is the latest image dispatch from Peter Jackson‘s version of Middle-Earth, featuring Ken Stott as Balin (on the left) and Graham McTavish as Dwalin.
These two guys are peers, more or less, for Thorin, the dwarf who assembles the company that travels from the Shire to the Misty Mountain. We’ll likely see Thorin next week, and hopefully a couple of the new human character, too. In the meantime, see the full new image below.
Time has the image, and the following explanatory text:
Dwarf Lords in their own right, Balin and Dwalin are close relatives of Thorin. Beyond this, these brothers are two of his most loyal and trusted friends. An old warrior, Balin has lived through hard times and fought many battles, yet he harbors doubts about the wisdom of the Quest to retake the Lonely Mountain. Dwalin has no such forebodings – his belief in Thorin’s leadership is unshakeable. A powerful and bruising fighter, with a natural tendency to distrust anyone who is not a Dwarf, particularly anyone who might be an Elf, Dwalin is not someone to cross lightly.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will hit theaters December 14, 2012. Part two, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, will open December 13, 2013.
Never toss a dwarf! We’ve got another awesome photo from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (and There And Back Again) to feature this morning, following that epic first look just yesterday at dwarves Dori, Nori and Ori.
This time we get to meet Oin (John Callen) and Gloin (Peter Hambleton). Gloin is the father of Gimli, the dwarf we all came to love in Lord of the Rings, that John Rhys-Davies perfectly portrayed.
Will The Hobbit be greenlit within the next few days? One delay after the other — notably the very shaky financial situation at MGM — has pushed the film back from the starting line. But a new report says that Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and MGM ‘appear to be close to greenlighting’ the two parts of The Hobbit.
The LA Times bases this report on several anonymous sources, which say that the studios have “nearly” finalized the deal to have Peter Jackson direct as well as co-write and produce, and that other issues that have put off production are nearly finalized as well. One of those issues relates to the rights negotiations with the estate of original author J.R.R. Tolkien.
The final issue remains MGM. The LAT reports that Warners and New Line are ready to pull the trigger, but that MGM’s debt situation is so complicated that getting the go-ahead there requires the agreement of “more than 100 debt owners.’ MGM is said to be eager to get the film rolling — no doubt because that would augur the next step towards financial solvency for the studio — but still has to raise money to do so. The paper says there are several options: borrowing money from Warner Bros., securing outside investment (which seems most likely) or bringing in yet another partner such as Fox, which already releases MGM films overseas. (When there are films to release.)
Then there’s the issue of actors’ guilds and unions, which prompted by one organization in New Zealand and Australia, pressured actors not to take jobs on The Hobbit. That left Jackson threatening to move the production from New Zealand to Eastern Europe, a step he seemed reluctant but willing to take. The LAT says the issues underlying that conflict are also nearly resolved.
Bottom line: all the LAT’s sources say that the green light is imminent so that production might start in mid-January and the first film might be ready for a holiday 2012 release.
The Peter Jackson-produced, Guillermo del Toro-directed two-film adaptation of The Hobbit will begin shooting in June.
This according to actor Ian McKellen, who is returning as Gandalf. He wrote the following on his official website:
THE HOBBIT’s, two films, start shooting in New Zealand in June. Filming will take over a year. Casting in Los Angeles, New York City and London has started. The script too proceeds. The first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle Earth. The director Guillermo del Toro is now living in Wellington, close to the Jacksons’ and the studio in Miramar.
The upcoming 20th birthday of Empire Magazine has been guest edited by none other than Steven Spielberg. By the power of his magical directing beard, he appears to have secured some rather nifty exclusives for the mag, and now they’re starting to flood out.
Quite impressively, they’ve got the scoop on Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro’s revised plans for The Hobbit. Previously we’d been told that they were going to make two films, the first an adaptation the novel and the second to bridge the gap between that book and The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, however, it seems that The Hobbit itself is going to take up two full length pictures all by itself.
Empire quote each of the Hobbitmasters. Here’s Del Toro:
We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur.
We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie. The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the trilogy.
There was a rumor recently that Del Toro would have a whole trilogy to play with, not two films but Jackson’s comment here about ‘the essential brief’, stepping down from the original plan and suggesting this new idea was how they’d be fulfilling their obligation, leaves me with the impression that the bridge narrative has been ditched altogether.
I’m assuming this spells the end of fan dreams to see Viggo Mortenson’s Aragorn in action again. Here’s hoping Jackson is just keeping a potential third film under his hat and the old rumours were based on something solid.
The special issue of Empire magazine hits UK shelves on the 23rd, and promises much more on The Hobbit, not to mention Tintin and lord knows what else Spielberg has won them access to.