Box Office: Punters punish Perry and Peter Jackson, “Hobbit” unimpressive, “Madea” is ma-DONE

The blowback from last year’s underwhelming, over-long and tedious “Hobbit” installment — and maybe the whole greedy, aesthetically unjustifiable decision to turn a slim adventure fantasy into three movies — is showing up at the box office.

“An Unexpected Journey” did $84 million on its opening weekend. The lighter, more fun (but still absurdly long) “Desolation of Smaug” will be lucky to hit $73. $70, says Deadline.com.

For an established, reliable brand like Tolkien, that’s pretty bad. Look at the “Thor” sequel for comparison. Not a bomb, but plainly Jackson is paying the price for Warners’ decision to three-film this two 100 minute films (at most) project. It’s going to make a lot less than the first one.

ImageTyler Perry’s WORST MADEA MOVIE EVER is doing only $15 million. He used to open these movies in the $30 million range. He integrated the cast, made it about Madea interacting with white people (the play it is based on doesn’t work that way), pulled most of his cultural-racial punches and left out the jokes. The character is played out, the audience has moved on. Dude needs to hang up the dress. On screen, anyway.

But not from “Frozen.” I doubt if Disney Animation’s latest wins the best animated feature Oscar, but this better than most of the rest of a middling year’s offerings in animation (“Croods” and “Despicable Me 2” were a bit better) is OWNING this holiday season, pulling in well over $20 million.

“Hunger Games” is fading. Fast.

“American Hustle” is cleaning up on just a handful of screens.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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