In a world where the Hollywood studios were thrown into turmoil by the Internet, the latest Hobbit movie edged “Unbroken” aside to regain the number one spot at the weekend box office.
And while “The Interview” was the movie that most people were talking about, its actual dollar take was uncertain, given its sudden availability as a pay per view movie and simultaneous, limited opening in art houses.
On Christmas Day itself, the Angelina Jolie-directed biopic “Unbroken” topped the North American box office, just ahead of the musical “Into the Woods.” But once the Friday-Saturday-Sunday total were added up, “The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies” had eased back into the number one spot, with an estimated $41.4 million in U.S. and Canadian sales.
“Unbroken” was second this weekend, with an estimated $31.7 million in cash registers. Another Christmas Day opener, “Into The Woods,” was third this weekend with $31 million in estimated ticket sales.
Ben Stiller’s “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” was fourth with $20 million, and the remake of “Annie: stood fifth at $16.6 million.
Several big movies opened in limited release this week in Los Angeles and other select markets, to qualify for Academy Awards consideration and generate word-of-mouth buzz. “American Sniper” drew heavy crowds in just four theaters, and “Selma” opened in 19 theaters, Rentrak reported.
“The Interview” was shown in 331 theaters, earning about $1.8 million this weekend. It has brought in about $2.8 million since Christmas Day theatrically, and an unknown amount via the Internet pay-per-view channels.
Rounding out the top 10 films this weekend, as reported by the studios and gathered by Rentrak, were “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” ($10 million), “The Gambler” ($9.3 million), “The Imitation Game” ($7.9 million), “Exodus: Gods and Kings” ($6.8 million) and “Wild” ($5.4 million).