Burning Question: How Long Will 'The Desolation of Smaug' Rule the Box Office?

Leslie Gornstein
Yahoo Movies

The Desolation of Smaug rules the box office for the third straight weekend in a row! Is this a record? And what movie will finally shoot the dragon out of the sky?

It may be a record for movies about dragons facing off against hobbits, elves and peculiarly hot dwarves. It may be impressive in this current era of blockbusters, when it seems like every week we’re getting a new No. 1 “hit.”

“Staying on top of the box office three weeks in a row is akin to three-peating in the NBA Finals these days,” Exhibitor Relations box office analyst Jeff Bock tells me. “It rarely happens anymore.”

But enjoying such a span at the top of Lonely Mountain is nowhere near a milestone when you look at the long history of movies. Oh, how quickly we forget the ship that launched a thousand faces. Or, at least, two: Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. "Titanic," the spectacle that spurred director James Cameron to crown himself king of the woooorrrrld, spent 15 consecutive weekends at the top of the box office back in 1997.

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"Home Alone" (1990), "Tootsie" (1982) and "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984) each spent at least a dozen weeks at the top of the weekend heap back in their heyday, too. "Fatal Attraction"? Eight deadly weeks back in ’87.

(In contrast, more recent entries such as "The Return of the King" and "The Hunger Games" each spent four weeks in the No. 1 spot. That may sound pretty good, but you know what else spent four weeks at the top? The second Police Academy flick.)

“I remember as a kid that "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" was in its 21st SMASH WEEK; at least, that's what the newspaper said,” Bock recalls. “Today, if you wanted a comparison, it would have to be something like "Gravity," in its 8th SMASH WEEK. That's about as long as any movie lasts these days.”

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As for the cinematic black arrow that shall fell the foul dragon, raise your swords in unison for …  demons!

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is estimated to debut in the mid-20s, and end Bilbo's box office run,” Bock predicts.

You heard it here first: Smaug officially has until Jan. 3 to live!