Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: America rings in new year with movies from last year

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: America rings in new year with movies from last year

The first few days of the year are a time for nursing post-holiday hangovers, lamenting resolutions that have already been broken, and binge watching entire runs of prestige television shows. They’re also, evidently, the perfect occasion to catch up with (or re-watch) movies from the year that’s just ended. Nearly every film on the entire box-office chart was a 2014 holdover—though, to be fair, many of these films are still creeping into wide release, and it’s not as though audiences had a lot of new options to watch instead. (Besides The Woman In Black 2, the only other 2015 release that even charted—and just barely—was a documentary about General Tso’s Chicken that The A.V. Club didn’t review.)

For the third weekend in a row, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies topped the box-office charts, adding $21.9 million to its Smaug-sized total of $220.8 million. Globally, the Tolkien adaptation looks like an even bigger hit, having climbed past $500 million in 65 markets. If there was any doubt that needlessly dividing slim stories into multiple installments is a sound business strategy, it’s been neatly obliterated. Prepare thyself for a few years of bifurcated and trifurcated blockbusters. Speaking of which: The similarly incomplete The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 pulled in an additional $7 million; it landed in eighth place for the weekend, but is less than $10 million away from becoming last year’s biggest hit.

Everyone should probably count their blessings that, say, Into The Woods didn’t get the multiple-movie treatment. The stage-to-screen transplant, which landed in second place with $19 million—and is well on its way to passing the $100 million mark—could easily have been hacked in two, especially given the hatchet job that Disney has supposedly performed on its second act. It’s possible, too, to imagine the three-part epic Angelina Jolie might have made out of Unbroken, whose $18 million gross this past weekend pushed it into third place and a gross of more than $80 million.


Threatening to end the supremacy cheap horror movies have recently held over the first couple weeks of the year, the lone new wide release, The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death, grossed just $15.1 million—not an awful intake for this kind of movie, but also only enough to put it in fourth place, ahead of December hits Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb ($14.4 million, $89.7 million total) and Annie ($11.4 million, $72.6 million total). With Tak3n still a few days off, it remains to be seen if Liam Neeson vehicles are still foolproof January offerings.

It is, however, looking very likely that the month has a new surefire, moneymaking standard: true stories of military might. Following in the gung-ho footsteps of Lone Survivor, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper opened in the last few days of December, has done strong business on a few screens, and will go wide this month (presumably with great success). Too bad Clint Eastwood didn’t call it American Sniper—Part 1. He could have January on lockdown for the next three years.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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