Opening against absolutely nothing, save for the second-week returns of an underperforming Gerard Butler romantic comedy, there was never any doubt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey would scarf up all the moldy Thanksgiving leftovers and take the #1 spot at the box office. But there were questions about how well it might perform: Would audiences be eager to see a reheated Lord Of The Rings trilogy? Would reports of its distractingly “lifelike” high-frame-rate be a deterrent? Would mixed reviews, even of a critic-proof movie like this one, limit its take just a little? The good news for director Peter Jackson and company is that The Hobbit made $84.8 million over the three-day frame, making it the largest December opening ever. That number is inflated by 3-D and IMAX gougings, of course, and it’s perhaps a little flat for the start of a trilogy of this magnitude. But according to CinemaScore, audiences liked it a lot more than Killing Them Softly, giving it a solid “A” rating, with viewers under 18 responding especially well with an “A+++++” rating with lots of superfluous gold stars and princess stickers all over their CinemaScore cards. They also seemed particularly enthusiastic the 48 fps process destroying celluloid forever, because they’re a bunch of jerks, at least according to sources inside my bitter little head.
In limited release, the politely reviewed Alan Cumming drama Any Day Now, about a gay couple’s fight to earn parental rights over a disabled child in the ‘70s, earned an exceedingly modest $2,500 per screen. The real deluge of new releases begins Wednesday.