Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is setting the pace at the cinema box office but its release just two weeks before Christmas means it has to settle for third place in the 2012 box office rankings.
Latest Motion Picture Distributors’ Association figures to Boxing Day, which was the official end of the year, show The Hobbit has topped the $6 million mark, but is well short of the year’s biggest grossing film to date, The Avengers, which collected $8.8 million during its mid-year season.
The latest James Bond film, Skyfall, has grossed $6.3 million to date, confirming it in second.
The MPDA's spokesman, Sony's Andrew Cornwell, says the year's cumulative box office tally of $167 million is 6.5% up on 2011.
"This is a pretty good increase considering Christchurch is struggling with lack of cinemas due to the earthquakes," he says.
On the international scene, Skyfall has just topped the $US1 billion market, according to Box Office Mojo figures up to December 30.
Meanwhile, Mojo says The Hobbit has topped the US box office for the third week running with $US222.7 million and a worldwide total of another $US444 million.
Mojo's annual box tally in the US for 2012 will be the highest since 2009 and likely to set a new record at $US10.8 billion.
Looking back at 2012, the annual New Zealand box office's increase on 2011 has featured the top 10 films all grossing more than $4.5 million apiece.
These include the two Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn films as well the third of Christopher Nolan's Batman blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Hunger Games.
A big hit among older viewers, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, ran for 22 weeks to bring in $5.4 million. It has sparked more such films, such as Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, now in release.
At the other end of the age spectrum, the animated Adventures of Tin Tin did the best among family-oriented fare, making Sir Peter the year’s box office king, while another animated feature, Ice Age: Continental Drift, also made the top 10.
2012 BOX OFFICE CHAMPIONS
1. The Avengers (20th Century Fox) $8.8m
2. Skyfall (Sony) $6.3m*
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Roadshow) $6.1m*
4. The Hunger Games (Roadshow ) $5.8m
5. The Dark Knight Rises (Roadshow) $5.7m
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (20th Century Fox) $5.4m
7. The Adventures of Tin Tin ( Paramount) $5.3m
8. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II (Hoyts) $5.0m
9. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I (Hoyts) $4.5m
10. Ice Age: Continental Drift (20th Century Fox) $4.5m
* Still in release