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Weekend Box Office: December 14-16, 2012

12.16.2012

Shire Power!

Nine years after RETURN OF THE KING brought the epic Tolkien trilogy to a close, filmmaker Peter Jackson has made a triumphant return to Middle Earth with THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.

The beginning of Bilbo Baggins' grand adventure heartily consumed $84.7 million over its opening weekend -- a greater sum than any of the original LORD OF THE RINGS movies (FELLOWSHIP started with $47.2M, THE TWO TOWERS with $62M, and $72.6M for ROTK). Then again, none of those (similarly lengthy) movies had the benefit of "premium" pricing...

A substantial $13 million of that total came from the midnight showings on Friday, helping feed the biggest December Friday total ever. This new trilogy-starter, which was made available in a variety of formats on more than 4000 screens, also set a record for biggest December weekend and was graded a coveted 'A' CinemaScore from audiences.

(Judging by the results of last weekend's poll, it appears that some JoBlo.com readers figured on an even larger opening for Bilbo & Co.)

The remaining movies on the chart had to battle for whatever scraps weren't swallowed by dwarves and halflings. RISE OF THE GUARDIANS held onto its second place spot from last weekend, obviously still taking advantage of being the only holiday-themed movie in wide release. Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN stretched past the $100 million mark this week, but last week's winner SKYFALL slipped to fourth.

While Ang Lee's LIFE OF PI continues to drift in fifth (the same space it has held since its initial release four weeks ago), THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN (PART 2) is losing its bite and has dropped to sixth. The ending of that franchise still trails BREAKING DAWN (PART 1), NEW MOON and ECLIPSE as far as domestic total, but it easily has the biggest worldwide amount with $759.3 million (the entire series has made over $3 billion globally).

After seven weeks, WRECK-IT RALPH continues to delight kids and videogame fans (and has finally made back its reported $165M cost), putting it ahead of the RED DAWN remake and the Gerard Butler romcom dud PLAYING FOR KEEPS. Meanwhile, FLIGHT got bumped as SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK once again pokes its bipolar head onto the chart in tenth, now at a $16.9M total and still on just 371 screens.

Next weekend brings a number of challengers to THE HOBBIT, including fellow diminutive hero Tom Cruise in the action-thriller JACK REACHER, Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand in the comedy THE GUILT TRIP (on Wed.), Pixar's Mike and Sully in the 3D reissue of MONSTERS, INC. (also on Wed.), the Judd Apatow gang reunion in THIS IS 40, and vibrant acrobats and contortionists in CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY.

In addition, next week sees limited releases of the tsunami drama THE IMPOSSIBLE, the Kerouac adaptation ON THE ROAD, 'The Sopranos' creator David Chase's NOT FADE AWAY, the French tearjerker AMOUR, and Kathryn Bigelow's anticipated bin Laden hunt ZERO DARK THIRTY.

What format of THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY did you see this weekend? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $84.7 M
NEW
2. Rise of the Guardians $7.4 M $71.3 M
3. Lincoln $7.2 M $107.8 M
4. Skyfall $7 M $272.3 M
5. Life of Pi $5.4 M $69.5 M
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2) $5.1 M $276.8 M
7. Wreck-It Ralph $3.2 M $168.7 M
8. Playing for Keeps $3.2 M $10.8 M
9. Red Dawn $2.3 M $40.8 M
10. Silver Linings Playbook $2 M $16.9 M

ACCESS BOX-OFFICE ARCHIVES HERE

Source: Box Office Mojo

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