Weekend Box Office: 'Smaug' Aims to Beat 'Paranormal Activity' & 'Frozen' for 4th Weekend On Top

Weekend box office, Time Warner, Disney, Viacom, Comcast, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures

Image sources: Time Warner, Disney

There's only one new movie pegged for wide release at the weekend box office tonight, but don't for a second think the battle for first place will be any less fierce.

First, we should see some decent numbers from newcomer Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which already earned $1.2 million in late-night screenings Thursday and stands tall as the fifth installment in Viacom  (NASDAQ: VIAB  ) Paramount's popular low-budget horror franchise.

The third and fourth films in the Paranormal series each launched on more than 3,300 screens to a solid first place in their own domestic weekend debuts, earning over $52.5 million and $29 million, respectively. What's more, both were massively profitable given their minuscule $5 million production budgets, and it's safe to expect more of the same this time around.

Paranormal Activity isn't alone

However, it's worth noting The Marked Ones is "only" hitting 2,867 screens to start. As a result, Viacom's latest effort may be hard pressed to beat its big-budget holdover competition, which most notably includes Disney's (NYSE: DIS  )  record-setting $150 million animated hit, Frozen, as well as Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) current three-weekend champion, the $220 million The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

When all was said and done last Monday, Smaug fell just 7.9% to gross $29.03 million stateside last weekend, effectively maintaining its momentum and muting skeptics who had panned its slower-than-expected start. But Smaug still only narrowly beat Frozen, ticket sales for which managed to increase 45.6% in its fifth weekend to an incredible $28.6 million -- a performance likely owed to overwhelmingly positive word of mouth given Frozen's rare "A+" CinemaScore.

But that's also not to say they needed the boost; as of this morning, Smaug and Frozen had already earned over $637 million and $544 million, respectively, from movie-goers worldwide.

And let's not forget Viacom's own third-week contender in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The popular sequel not only secured third place last weekend after decreasing a reasonable 25% to $19.7 million, but has also earned nearly triple its $50 million production budget so far.

More likely to keep up its pace this weekend, however, is Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) Pictures' star-studded, critically acclaimed American Hustle, which dropped just 2% in its third week to $18.7 million. To date, American Hustle has almost doubled Sony's $40 million outlay and should prove more than worth the studio's effort.

Finally, Viacom's The Wolf of Wall Street -- which unsurprisingly piqued the interest of our decidedly investor-centric crowd for a variety of awkward reasons -- could enjoy another so-so weekend after earning nearly $18.4 million in its debut. It remains to be seen how it'll hold up over the next three days, but suffice it to say Viacom could use a boost given the film's lofty $100 million production budget.

Coming up next

Things aren't expected to pick up much with next weekend's box office, either, as only two new wide releases arrive in the form of Comcast Universal's war drama, Lone Survivor, and Lionsgate's (NYSE: LGF  ) The Legend of Hercules. 

Neither Lionsgate nor Comcast have released official budget numbers for their latest action dramas yet, but given their relative lack of hype and the fact each film is hitting well under 2,800 screens, it's safe to expect Hercules and Lone Survivor will end up modest successes, at best.

These movies could make you rich

Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2782737, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/23/2014 8:43:21 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement