Monday, April 15, 2024

“The Hobbit” Snatches $37.5 Mil Friday in US, Total Worldwide in One Day $69 Mil


You hear people talk about branding, but jeez Louise here’s a terrific example. Peter Jackson’s two and a half hour film of “The Hobbit”–essentially part 4 of his billion dollar “Lord of the Rings” trilogy– took in $37.5 million on Friday in the U.S. Altogether with its worldwide sales, “The Hobbit” now has $69 million in the bank. And that’s one day. By Sunday night, yikes.

Using many cast members from “Lord of the Rings,” Jackson has embellished the earlier, shorter, lighter J.R.R. Tolkien book and inflated the whole thing into a new trilogy. Ticket prices are higher because it’s a kind of nauseating 3D that looks like video from 20 years ago but makes the viewer feel as if you’re in the middle of Middle Earth. At this rate, Jackson will be looking to expand Tolkien’s Haikus into mini series. If you film it, they will come!

In other news, three Oscar buzzed movies have crossed the $100 million line– “Argo,” “Lincoln,” and “Flight– which is good news for the Academy Awards. A fourth, “Silver Linings Playbook,” remains in limited release but doing very well. Another, “Life of Pi,” is building slowly toward $100 million. Not doing so well: Brad Pitt in “Killing Them Softly,” which has somehow misfired badly. I really liked it in Cannes, so did many others. But for a Brad Pitt movie, it’s a mess– just $14 million so far.

Coming shortly: Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables. The big guns, as they say.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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