The Hobbit: An Expected Journey to the top of the UK box office chart

UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 14th to Sunday 16th December 2012…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was always going to comfortably top the UK box office chart in its opening weekend. The only real question was, just how big of an opening would Peter Jackson’s latest Middle-earth adventure enjoy? The answer… big, but not that big, with its £11,601,538 certainly impressive, but only enough to claim the fifth-best opening of the year behind Skyfall (£20.2m), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (£15.9m), The Avengers (£15.8m) and The Dark Knight Rises (£14.36m) (and out of those, only Earth’s Mightiest Heroes enjoyed the benefit of an extra day of preview screenings). Meanwhile, of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, only The Fellowship of the Ring earned less on its opening weekend, pulling in £11m across five days back in 2001; when you factor in 3D surcharges and inflation, it seems that The Hobbit hasn’t yet managed to stir up the same kind of excitement as Jackson’s first Tolkien trilogy.

Moving on and the arrival of The Hobbit knocked festive animation Rise of the Guardians down into second place, but there was plenty of Christmas cheer for the British holiday ensemble comedy Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!, which enjoyed a hefty 97% hold in its fourth weekend to climb two spaces to third. The UK’s highest-grossing movie of all-time Skyfall slipped two spots to fourth but still looks able to mount a challenge for the £100m mark, while Disney animation Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings opened in fifth with £528,820. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 slipped out of the top half of the chart in its fifth weekend to finish up in sixth place, where it was followed by Seven Psychopaths, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo and Great Expectations.

Number one this time last year: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, £11,601,538 weekend (New)
2. Rise of the Guardians, £1,250,469 weekend; £5,713,662 total (3 weeks)
3. Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger!, £938,309 weekend; £5,582,224 total (4 weeks)
4. Skyfall, £809,406 weekend; £97,897,404 total (8 weeks)
5. Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings, £528,820 weekend (New)
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, £509,872 weekend; £34,420,072 total (5 weeks)
7. Seven Psychopaths, £452,293 weekend; £2,133,948 total (2 weeks)
8. Silver Linings Playbook, £231,714 weekend; £4,104,632 total (4 weeks)
9. Argo, £108,384 weekend; £5,153,262 total (6 weeks)
10. Great Expectations, £100,137 weekend; £1,730,925 total (3 weeks)

Incoming…

The Hobbit’s dominance of the UK box office chart will be tested this Thursday by the arrival another book adaptation in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (cert. PG) [read our review here], although even with an extra day of preview screenings the film will surely have its work cut out to displace Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic at the top of the chart. Meanwhile Friday sees the arrival of the musical comedy Pitch Perfect (cert. 12A), while Boxing Day brings us Tom Cruise’s latest actioner Jack Reacher (cert. 12A), along with the acclaimed indie offering Safety Not Guaranteed (cert. TBC) and the Billy Crystal / Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance (cert. U).

Around the Internet…