“The Desolation of Smaug” was able to keep the “Wolf” from the door on Wednesday, December 25, 2013. The “Hobbit” sequel claimed the Christmas Day box office crown with a relatively modest $9.32 million.
“The Desolation of Smaug” topped Christmas and ended the day hovering within sight of the $150 million plateau, beating Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which took in an estimated $9.15 million in its first day of release. The Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle had the highest per-screen average of any film in the Top 10, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
At the top of the heap, this Christmas box office was way down from Christmas Day 2012, which saw “Les Miserables,” “Django Unchained” and “The Hobbit: An Expected Journey” draw over $11 million for the day. However, there was more depth to the 2013 chart, which saw at least 10 films take in more than $3 million for the day, compared to only six million hitting that modest level in 2012.
After several days of seemingly dwindling returns, “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” bounced back to $8.1 million, bringing its domestic total to $56.69 million.
Also doing reasonably solid business in their Christmas premieres were Fox’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with $7.825 million and Universal’s “47 Ronin” with $7 million, as the Ben Stiller and Keanu Reeves vehicles battled mixed-to-negative reviews to deliver higher per-screen averages than either the “Hobbit” or “Anchorman” sequels. [With a reported budget north of $200 million, this won’t put “Ronin” on the path to profitability, but it probably could have been worse.] “Walter Mitty” and “47 Ronin” came in at fourth and sixth respectively, with “American Hustle” drawing $7.4 million to finish fifth and bring its total over $34 million.
The other big Christmas Day releases had a tougher time. Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone’s return to the boxing ring meant only $3.965 million for “Grudge Match,” which was still far ahead of the $1.25 million for the Justin Bieber documentary “Believe.”
“Believe” ended up right behind “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which expanded into 975 theaters and made $1.26 million for 13th for the day.