Quentin Tarantino’s tremendously violent Django Unchained opens Tuesday, and producer Harvey Weinstein may be looking over his shoulder, because The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is still riding high after its second weekend, having grabbed $36.7 million this past weekend and jumping to a new domestic total of $149.9 million. Weinstein’s film already had to postpone its opening because of the Sandy Hook massacre.
It’s not just The Hobbit, the Tom Cruise action thriller Jack Reacher brought home $15.6 million while Judd Apatow’s This Is 40 swallowed $12 million. The blowout about to happen is Zero Dark Thirty, which only played in five theaters and raked in $410,000, a huge amount of $82,000 per theater. Zero Dark Thirty will go into nationwide release soon, which will make it another formidable foe for the Tarantino film.
It probably won’t help that Christoph Waltz, one of the stars of Django Unchained, and a German-Austrian native, may have offended Americans when he patronized them with this remark: “In a way, slavery is an unresolved issue, a topic that hasn’t been universally addressed. You would think that the victory of the North over the South would have ended the discussion, but it’s never been properly dealt with.”
If Waltz thinks Django Unchained is the proper way for Americans to resolve racial tension, he may be surprised at the box office – or lack of it.