Sunday, May 26, 2024

“The Hobbit” Hits $223 Mil Worldwide, $85 Mil in US in Three Days: An Unexpected Windfall


“The Hobbit” broke records everywhere, and has $223 million in the bank worldwide after three days. Let’s go back to how all this started. The Weinsteins wanted to make “Lord of the Rings” at Miramax, they had the rights, but Michael Eisner–then head of Disney–wouldn’t allow it. So Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne made the movies at New Line for Warner Bros. with Mark Ordesky supervising.

I can still remember Mark actually doing a one man show for us circa 2002 in the bar at the Regency Hotel, performing all three chapters of “Lord of the Rings.” It was hilarious, but having spent months of his life in New Zealand with Peter Jackson, Ordesky was passionate.

Fast forward to Guillermo del Toro supposed to make “The Hobbit” but ultimately Jackson deciding he might as well turn this into his “Star Wars.”  The 3D and 48 whatever per second are unnecessary. All people really wanted to see was their group of friends back on screen. And in the end, that’s why “The Hobbit,” a slight book. is now a three part extravaganza that has eaten the box office alive.

I only wish Shaye, Lynne, and Ordesky had been at the premiere. Ironically, Alan Horn, then at Warner Bros. is now at Disney. He ‘got’ the whole thing. At the New York premiere, Horn and his successor, Jeff Robinov, were hugging and mugging and toasting each other as well they should.

As for the Weinsteins: “Silver Linings Playbook,” a movie loved by anyone who sees it, is still in 371 theaters. And it remains steady week to week, building word of mouth. And I am told that “The Master” may return to theaters for an Oscar run given its number of awards nomination and critics groups wins. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Joaquin Phoenix are all headed to the Oscars, and the film could well be a Best Picture nominee.

Meantime, Shaye and Lynne are readying the August 23, 2013 release of “The Mortal Instruments, Part 1” from their Unique Pictures. I’m told this will be the new franchise to set box office records. Unique also has an original Paul McCartney-scored animation feature maybe for 2014. Keep an eye on Shaye and Lynne–those boys may really know what they’re doing!

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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