Can the Rabid Fans of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Power The Film To A Record Opening?

The Hobbit

It seems like whenever there’s news on Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and we blog about it, we can expect a traffic spike. I notice this with Binh’s blog entries regarding the 48 fps clip shown in CinemaCon a couple weeks ago and the first trailer shown in December of last year.

“The Lord of the Rings” franchise has lots of rabid fans. This is mostly good. Warner Bros., MGM, and New Line Cinema - the studios financing the prequels - can expect a huge opening at the box office no matter how the film turns out. They can also count on the fans and “geek sites” like ours to spread their news around.

This fanatical following can also work against the film too. Reactions have been mixed/negative on the higher frame rate and mixed/positive on the first trailer. The good news is that these tidbits are treated as events on the internet, even if the reactions haven’t been glowing.

Surprisingly, Warner Bros. hasn’t created teasers announcing the film’s trailer releases, like Lionsgate and Fox did with “The Expendables 2” and “Prometheus,” respectively. That’s probably a good thing: teasers for trailers as a practice is overkill.

I’m afraid that expectations for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” are so high because of the quality of the first three “Lord of the Rings” films that, like the “Star Wars” prequels, people are bound to be disappointed. The first three films averaged 94% on the Tomatometer and the last film cleaned up at the Oscars, winning eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. At the box office, the franchise grossed over $1B domestically.

This all leads me to wonder if “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will break any records when it opens on December 14. Although the previous three films have all opened huge - $47M to $72M - none of them broke the opening weekend box office record.

I wonder if that would change with the huge anticipation. Probably not. Although films tend to be leggy during December, records tend to be broken in the Summer. “The Avengers” $207M opening weekend record will be safe. That is, unless “The Dark Knight Rises” turns out really well, meeting or surpassing expectations.

(Editor’s Note: No, I did not write this for the traffic. I actually wrote this to test out how reliable is for auto-posting entries to Twitter and Facebook.)

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