After weeks upon weeks of blanket promotion for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to 2004's Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy barely made more at the box office than its predecessor at the box office. And when adjusting for inflation, it actually made less.
Since its release on Dec. 18, Anchorman 2 has grossed an estimated $40 million, $26.8 million of which was brought in over the weekend. That's enough to just squeak by the first Anchorman film, which opened on a Friday and made $36.5 million in its first five days ($28.4 million of which was over the weekend). When adjusting to 2013 dollars, however, the first Anchorman is the undisputed box office champion, making $36.8 million over the weekend, and $47.3 million in its first five days.
To be fair, the time of year was likely a factor here. The original film opened in the middle of the summer, whereas Anchorman 2 had to contend with cold weather and holiday travelers, which both likely depressed turnout at least a little bit.
When looking at each film's competition, the original Anchorman opened against the second weekend of Spider-Man 2, which grossed $45.2 million (or roughly $58 million in 2013 dollars) — that's a large chunk of ticket buyers choose scaling skyscrapers over belly laughs. Anchorman 2, meanwhile, opened against the second weekend of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which topped the weekend with a more Hobbit-size $31.5 million.
So did all that relentless promotion for Anchorman 2 actually do its job? Paramount Pictures' top marketing exec Josh Greenstein told Entertainment Weekly that his team was treating Anchorman 2 like "a giant global tent-pole" movie — i.e. the comedy equivalent of Spider-Man 2. Unfortunately for Paramount, audiences don't typically treat comedy the same way they treat mega-budget superhero movies. And with Ron Burgundy seemingly everywhere over the past two months, some moviegoers may have simply felt like they had already had their fill of Anchorman-style comedy without having to actually go see the sequel.
And this week, audiences will have even more films to choose from: No less than four movies are opening in wide release (including The Wolf of Wall Street). With Anchorman 2 receiving a just-OK B rating from the audience polling firm CinemaScore, Ron Burgundy and his news team had better hope their film's box office returns escalate quickly.
Here are the estimated top 10 box office figures for Friday to Sunday, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — $31.5 million
2. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues* — $26.8 million
3. Frozen — $19.2 million
4. American Hustle — $19.1 million
5. Saving Mr. Banks — $9.3 million
6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire — $8.8 million
7. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas — $8.5 million
8. Walking with Dinosaurs* — $7.3 million
9. Dhoom 3* — $3.3 million
10. Thor: The Dark World — $1.3 million