“The Interview” finally arrived in theaters on Christmas Eve with select screenings in select theaters, but the word on Sony Pictures' controversial release won't be known until Thursday. Moreover, with the studio being able to line up only 331 theaters in under 48 hours Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's comedy will be judged more on its per screen than anything else. In the meantime, Americans spent the day traveling or with family which meant a slow box office frame before things traditionally heat up on Christmas day.
“The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” was no. 1 for the eighth day in a row and shows no signs of relinquishing that crown anytime soon. The Warner Bros. and MGM release took in an estimated $6 million on Wednesday for $113.9 million so far in the U.S. Overseas, the Peter Jackson epic has earned $269 million so far.
Remaining in second place was “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” which found another $2.7 million for $27.4 million in six days. That's well behind the performances of the previous “Night at the Museum,” but 20th Century Fox can find some solace in that their family comedy is at least beating “Annie.”
Sony Pictures has been dealing with one company and political crisis after another this past month since the now historic North Korean hack. That has overshadowed the severe disappointment “Annie” has been so far. The modern day reboot of the Broadway musical earned another $2 million for $24.6 million since Friday. It's inconceivable “Annie” will be anywhere near the $100 million family hit the industry thought it could be. With more competition arriving today, it's unclear if the sun will come out tomorrow or the rest of the holiday frame for little leaked on the web “Annie.”
Showing signs of finally slowing down is “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1.” The second to last installment of the blockbuster franchise found $975,000 on Tuesday for a domestic cume of $293.9 million. The Lionsgate flick should hit $300 million, but the box office drop off from the first “Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire” is in the $100 million plus range. It's worth noting that while no “Twilight” film ever hit $400 million, the fanbase was loyal enough to keep the box office tallies within $20 million of each other from the second chapter on. Something strange happened with “Mockinjay” and Lionsgate is no doubt scratching their heads wondering what the outcome for “Pt. 2” will be a little under a year from now.
20th Century Fox's banner 2014 continues to end on a disappointing note with the performance of Ridley Scott's “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” The biblical epic took in another $955,000 on its 13th day of release for just $42.7 million so far. Fox will be looking at Christmas and New Year's Day openings in major international markets such as Germany, U.K., Russia and France to help chip away at that $140 million production budget.
It's worth noting the highest per screen in the top 10 belonged to “P.K.,” an Indian film which took in $640,000 in just 272 theaters for a $2,353 per screen. The comedy has earned $5.1 million in just six days and is already the highest grossing film in distributor UTV Communications' short history.
New films opening today in wide release include “The Gambler,” “Into the Woods,” “Big Eyes” and “Unbroken.” “The Imitation Game” expands to 747 theaters, “Selma” debuts in 19, “American Sniper” in 4 and, as previously noted, “The Interview” in 331.
Look for daily box office updates throughout the holiday frame on HitFix.