Traditionally, the highest-grossing time of year for motion-pictures is from November to Christmas. Major Hollywood studios begin their Oscar campaigns and release long-awaited big-budget blockbuster movies during the holiday season that will carry over into the next year.
One attempt at box-office dominance this season is “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug “, from New Line Cinema, a second in this J. R. R. Tolkien trilogy series by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson. It continues the adventure of the character Bilbo Baggins, one year after it’s predecessor, “An Unexpected Journey”, which was one of the top-grossing films of 2012 (over $246M). The fantasy is again set in middle-earth, 60 years before “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring”, the theme of a previous Tolkien trilogy installment. “Desolation of Smaug” is due in theaters on December 13.
On the same day, filmmaker Tyler Perry releases his first holiday-themed movie, “A Madea Christmas”, featuring a cast that includes Larry the Cable Guy, “Facts Of Life” star Lisa Whelchel, and Anna Maria Horsford of “Amen” fame. Sweet Brown of “ain’t nobody got time for that” fame also makes a big-screen appearance. Perry’s witty Madea character brings her brand of Christmas spirit to a country town, and also plays a not-so-nice mall Santa, to the dismay of perplexed kids.
Walt Disney Studios brings Tom Hanks to the screen on December 20 as its namesake, legendary filmmaker Walt Disney, in “Saving Mr. Banks”, with Oscar winner Emma Thompson, in a story about actress-author P.L. Travers, who wrote “Mary Poppins”.
In Paramount Pictures’ “Anchorman 2”, Will Ferrell leaves the 70’s behind, returning to the news desk on December 20 as Ron Burgundy, supported by the entire news team: Ron’s co-anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), weather man Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), man on the street Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and David Koechner as sportscaster Champ Kind.
Also, Warner Brothers releases the sports comedy “The Grudge Match” on Christmas Day. With Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro as aging boxers holding a lifelong grudge against each other, the all-star cast includes Kevin Hart, Kim Basinger, and Alan Arkin.
Some long-awaited big-budget movies flop and don’t perform well where it counts – at the box-office. In fact, earlier this year, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas predicted that soon, multi-million dollar movies are going to flop and change the game forever. Hollywood is hoping they are wrong.