The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is not coming out to the near-unanimous praise of any of the previous movies. The film was shot in 48 frames per second (double the normal frame rate) and has become an issue – much like the torture in Zero Dark Thirty – that ultimately distracts from the conversation about the film itself. And as 48fps is also something that’s in limited markets, and basically only available in major metropolitan areas, most viewers won’t get a chance to see the film that way. But it doesn’t matter. The Hobbit is going to make bank.
And The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will continue to make bank for the rest of the year. $200 Million is all but guaranteed, $300 seems to be a pretty easy stretch. The question is if this will poison the well. People are happy to return, and the BNAT crowd who went to Austin for Harry Knowles birthday party seemed to love it, but the problems the film has (of which it has many) may hurt the franchise.
I wrote a negative review, yes, but if you go the film’s rotten tomato page, look at the positives. Positives like “Get ready for a more heated debate than any election season. Is Peter Jackson’s ambitious, overblown adaptation worth it, or is it a flagrant attempt to create a cash cow out of a children’s book? The answer is yes. ” And “As fun as it is to watch, this isn’t Tolkien’s Hobbit. The story of a peaceable traveler who knew the virtue of restraint is lost to the vision of filmmakers who have none. ” And “It is great to once more be whisked back to Tolkien’s extraordinarily vivid world, but Jackson’s overstuffed film proves that it is possible to get too much of a good thing.” Those are all from the “fresh’ reviews. Though there are some who are raving, and some who really like the 48fps, they seem to be in a very small minority. This is getting a soft pass similar to some of the prequel films. Metacritic reveals that only one person they sampled gave it a perfect rating, while most were mixed to negative.
But have no illusions that these problems and complaints will have much effect on the box office, or that much could topple it. Maybe Christmas Day, with both Les Miserables and Django Unchained, we could see Hobbit lose the top spot before the end of the year, but it seems unlikely. But when the film hits Blu-ray and DVD, when the extended edition comes out, that’s when we may see this film start taking abuse. And it may work against the second movie in the Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, but that will actually have a big dragon battle (we hope) and that may be enough to bring back audiences for the second film, and then why not watch the finale on the big screen?
Though the prequel films have their fans, they aren’t good movies, but even there the lowest gross was $302 Million for Attack of the Clones. Unless the second Hobbit film is super offensive, and audiences turn on the film it’s likely these films will all make lots of money.Which is why they turned two films into a trilogy.
So, this weekend:
1. The Hobbit 1 - $91.3 Million
And that’s the only film that matters.
What are you going to watch this weekend?