As Warner Bros.' The Hobbit looks to make this its fourth weekend at the top of the box office chart, there will be some intense competition from the latest Tarantino blood-fest Django Unchained which topped the mid-week chart on Wednesday. A gross of around $20 million for both films is likely this weekend with The Weinstein Co.'s Django starting its second full weekend in theaters after a solid (and better than expected $15M) debut on Christmas day.
The Hobbit managed a spectacular hold over New Year's weekend, dropping only 13 percent and topping the chart with $31.9 million, but with Django nipping at its heels with a super solid $30.1 million first full weekend performance, there is no doubt that these will top the leader board come Sunday night. This will put Hobbit near the $270 million mark after 24 days in N. American theaters and Django over the $100 million mark after a mere 13 days in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
Lest anyone think that the level of heavy competition ends there, the musical hit Les Miserables from Universal has been singing a one heck of a happy tune in theaters since its Christmas Day opening ($18.1M), with $84.2 million in the bank through Wednesday and total revenues expected to top $100 million by the end of this weekend. A probable weekend gross of around $17 million will put it in the thick of the fight for one of the top three spots.
Newcomers will have a tougher time in this highly competitive marketplace, but Lionsgate's Texas Chainsaw 3-D, an update of the horror classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, should inspire horror fans and those seeking out a brand new movie experience to slice off a respectable $15 million worth of ticket sales. The film will play at 2,654 locations in North America on Friday, Jan. 4, with select theaters beginning screenings at 10:00 pm local time on the night of Jan. 3.
Three other notable films will expand into wider release this weekend with Focus Features' Promised Land, starring Matt Damon as an energy company salesman and directed by Good Will Hunting helmer Gus Van Sant, expanding into 1,675 theaters on Friday. Also expanding is Lionsgate's acclaimed Tsunami drama The Impossible, going from 15 to 572 theaters as well as Kathryn Bigelow's spectacular Zero Dark Thirty adding 55 theaters for a total of 60 locations a week ahead of its nationwide release on January 11.
This is the first weekend of what looks to be perhaps the biggest year in box office history with an expected $11 billion plus waiting for us about 52 weeks from now.