After dominating home video sales (which isn’t video at all anymore but remains the common term) the week of its release, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” is back on top of the sales leader board in its fourth week in release. Its opening release pitted it against strong Oscar-winning competition, “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” but its sales outpaced those title by more than a 3-1 ratio each. (TORn doesn’t have an official opinion of either film but this writer recommends both) And a month later after losing the top spot to “The Bible,” around the Easter holiday, Peter Jackson’s film is back on top.
Despite mostly positive but mixed reviews and media reports of mediocre box office (which proved to be incorrect after its $302 million run in the U.S. and its more than $1 billion world-wide) the film is also impressive with its home-use sales figures. Warner Bros. promoted the initial sales with an exclusive look at this December’s “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug,” but that has come and gone while sales remain strong. We don’t mean to cheerlead for the film’s financial outcome and nobody from the studio is sending TheOneRing.net money, but some bad buzz lingers despite the film being embraced culturally and financially by viewers and it seems perception might not quite match reality. It will be fascinating to see if 48 fps, 3D and the decision to tell the book’s story over three films will remain a topic of media focus or if the film’s success and its impressive cast will shift into the spotlight.