It's official: A good box office weekend is just what Hollywood needed. It's been a rough end of the year, what with the Sony hackers threatening free speech and numbers revealing a decline in moviegoing this year – it's the lowest its been in 20 years. Two holdovers, surely popular with families looking to get out of the house for a little this holiday weekend, earned the top two spots. The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies, the third installment in the Hobbit trilogy, has continued its box office reign for the third weekend in a row. It earned $21.9 million this weekend alone. Into the Woods, the star-studded film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical, came in second, earning $19.1 million.
Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed World War II film that depicts the true story of Louis Zamperini, came in third, continuing its surprising success despite some negative reviews.
The major new release of the weekend was The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, which came in fourth despite poor reviews and a distinct lack of Daniel Radcliffe. These didn't deter young movie-goers, who showed up in droves for the sequel. Two more poorly reviewed family friendly holdovers came in fifth and sixth, Night At The Museum: Secrets Of The Tomb and Annie, respectively.
Not only was this weekend a good time for major releases, but limited release films also performed well, which reflects a more positive trend in 2014 of highly successful smaller films. The Imitation Game has done remarkably well for its limited release, earning a total of $30.8 million over the course of its release. A Most Violent Year, Selma, and American Sniper also performed remarkably well. The only major exception is The Interview, with numbers dropping significantly from last weekend. The novelty of seeing such a controversial movie has apparently worn off.
Will 2015 see a return to moviegoing? A lot of major films will surely draw crowds, including Fifty Shades of Grey, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and of course Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My bet is that 2015 will see an upward swing in moviegoing, though we'll have to wait and see.