The holiday season brings presents for more than just eager children. Theaters, production companies and others with vested interests in the movie industry also receive gifts in the form of box office revenue, since historically, the holiday box office figures for the period between December 20 and January 2 are the most lucrative of the year. Predictions abound for the weeks leading up to this period, with guesses of probable successes and possible failures being made by critics, statisticians and industry executives. Below is a round-up of likely top-earning movies at the December 2013 box office.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” (watch trailer) which opens December 13, promises a strong showing at the box office. Continuing the story of the hobbit Bilbo and his never-ending quest, this movie is a sequel to 2012’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” that has raked in over $300 million in domestic box office sales.
Also opening on Friday the 13th is Lionsgate’s comedy “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.” Nearly all of the Tyler Perry films have opened at $25 million, and this latest in the Madea franchise should be no different, since the prolific actor/writer/director’s three highest-grossing films feature the Madea character.
Sequel “Anchorman: The Legend Continues,” starring Will Ferrell and Steve Carell, opens December 20. The first “Anchorman” sold $90 million, and the second movie is anticipated to exceed the first. In the nine years since the first “Anchorman,” the movie has received much airtime on both TV networks and cable. For the sequel, Paramount Pictures presents compelling teasers and provides plausible character advancement for Ron Burgundy. Some box office watchers predict “Anchorman: The Legend Continues” will break the existing December comedy record, currently held by “Meet the Fockers,” which grossed $46 million.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” opens December 25. Though the movie’s somewhat mean, satirical edge is not typically a huge crowd-pleaser on the feel-good Christmas Day, its famous director and cast of stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey, should bolster its box office showing.
“Saving Mr. Banks” does not at first glance seem to be a movie that will bring in much in box office revenue. However, a closer look reveals much potential for the film’s holiday success. Opening to limited audiences on December 13 and nationwide the following week, the Buena Vista film stars perennial favorite Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, who persuades E.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to make the movie “Mary Poppins.” Trailers promise something for moviegoers of all ages, which might make “Saving Mr. Banks” the de facto film for families this holiday season.
Of the several other movies opening in December, a few stand out as possible box office successes. “American Hustle,” (watch trailer) directed by David O. Russell and starring Christian Bale, opens to limited audiences December 13 and expands nationwide on December 18. Its cast and coolness factor – previews provide glimpses of a 1970s disco vibe – could be a hit with adult audiences. Another possible hit with adult audiences is “Grudge Match,” set for release on Christmas Day. Starring Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone, “Grudge Match” might come out swinging. Also set for release on December 25 is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” a PG-rated film that appears to have some adult-oriented elements. The film stars popular Ben Stiller, historically successful in holiday films. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” might be a winner, too.