Welcome to the end of the world! Anyone win any bets that you’d be here reading this right now? Alright, alright, there’s been enough of that. Let’s get to the box office already.

I myself had mentioned The Hobbit would take four straight weekends, and forgot that Zero Dark Thirty only opened in LA and NY, so it’s only natural all my rank estimates would be wrong last week. What was I thinking? Though it was easy to overestimate Monsters, Inc. seeing as it’s animation, and a very popular one at that. But The Hobbit nevertheless did drop significantly in profit, as everyone is coming to realize precisely what I said last week: hype is a double-edged sword.

Meanwhile, the true surprise here was Tom Cruise’s latest, Jack Reacher. Let me tell you, Jack reaches for a hell of a lot and for all its trouble it never gets there. Now, I’ve never read the source material, but I’m sensible enough to make the educated guess that the character was stripped of all individuality for marketability, packaged, and sold.

As far as I can tell, it isn’t Bourne meets Dirty Harry as the advertisements bragged—it actually is those two things mushed together. But the second surprise you’ll find is that Tom Cruise actually uplifts the film just a notch above complete boredom, and that makes you wonder the magic of Brad Bird. Maybe it’s his name’s alliteration, born to make extraordinary people familiar again.

This is 40 came in at third, and never really breaks free of being definitively Apatow. Now, this is quite the goal of his cinematic career, but it’s not like any of us could fail an IQ prerequisite to view any of his films. And yet, for the first time, really, he tries to be witty and clever here, and what we see is a transition of his tactics—but it still comes off as odd as seeing a werewolf stuck halfway through its own transformation. My personal favorite thing that he’s ever done is Pineapple Express, though he only produced.

It’s been three years. Now, Quentin Tarantino is at it again—the man with no name of cinema who professes his love to film every single outing with his distinctly long, stylized dialogues of intrigue and suspense and all those other reasons we watch Tarantino films. If it weren’t for this guy, I personally wouldn’t be in film myself.

Django Unchained may release on Christmas but I have no doubt his very loyal fans (including myself) will flock to his latest just for taste of what it truly means to push the boundaries of cinema. Sure, The Hobbit’s effects are grand, but what cinema can do and what technology can do marks the significant difference between modern filmmaking and class acts like Tarantino over here. Not that he’s perfect, but hey, he’s a unique voice in Hollywood. May he continue leading new generations forward.

Also, Les Miserables releases Tuesday, from the worst casting director of all time. It’s mostly redundant with its musical pieces, an unnecessary adaptation of an incredible literary work.

Weekend Results

1.) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (WB): Second weekend, with $36.7 million.

2.) Jack Reacher (Par.): Opening weekend, with $15.6 million.

3.) This is 40 (Uni.): Opening weekend, with $12 million.

4.) Rise of the Guardians (P/DW): Fifth weekend, with $5.9 million.

5.) Lincoln (BV): Seventh weekend, with $5.63 million.

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