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Weekend Box Office: December 21-23, 2012

12.23.2012

A hard Hobbit to break!

Although his box office returns dropped by more than 50% since last week, Bilbo Baggins still triumphed over all competitors as THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY took tops this weekend with $36.7 million.

Director Peter Jackson's reunion with Tolkien's creations has gathered nearly $150 million domestically in ten days, and almost twice that amount from international crowds (its worldwide total is currently $433.8M). While that puts it not even halfway to the totals of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (never mind the billion-plus global take of RETURN OF THE KING), audiences should continue turning out to see the Middle Earth meandering well into January.

Tom Cruise's pocket-sized punisher JACK REACHER didn't seem to be a strong draw for the holiday season, parking in a distant second place with $15.6 million. The adaptation of novelist Lee Child's itinerant antihero didn't cost much (a reported $60M budget) but its opening certainly lags behind the megastar's other recent actioners MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL ($29.5M) and KNIGHT AND DAY ($20.1M).

Coming in third with $12 million was another new release, filmmaker Judd Apatow's latest comedy THIS IS 40. The pseudo-sequel to KNOCKED UP also hasn't seen particularly positive critical or audience response, opening substantially lower than 2009's FUNNY PEOPLE ($22.6M), so it may have some struggles considering adult audiences will have other new options shortly.

As the only release with any Christmas theme, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS continues to benefit -- it's not exactly racking up the digits, but it's holding firm chart placement after five weeks in theaters. Spielberg's LINCOLN is still standing tall, casting a shadow over the new Rogen/Streisand travel comedy THE GUILT TRIP and Pixar's 3D reissue of MONSTERS, INC., both of which opened Wednesday and barely hit $5 million over the weekend.

Filling out the chart, SKYFALL still edges toward $1 billion worldwide, LIFE OF PI now has a respectable $235.7M global total, and THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN (PART 2) has now officially surpassed BREAKING DAWN (PART 1) domestically and sits atop the franchise's worldwide list with $783M.

Outside the Top 10, RED DAWN, WRECK-IT RALPH and PLAYING FOR KEEPS all said their goodbyes while the new acrobat fantasy CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY grabbed $2.2M on 840 screens and the limited release of the acclaimed ZERO DARK THIRTY scored a per-screen average nearly ten times that of THE HOBBIT. Other award-seekers opening in limited release to less enthusiasm were the tsunami drama THE IMPOSSIBLE, the Kerouac adaptation ON THE ROAD, the elder romance AMOUR, and NOT FADE AWAY, the drama from "The Sopranos" creator David Chase.

Next week kicks off your Christmas celebration with Tuesday releases of Quentin Tarantino's violent "Southern" DJANGO UNCHAINED, the latest big-screen adaptation of LES MISERABLES and the Billy Crystal family comedy PARENTAL GUIDANCE (in fact the widest release of the three), plus the expansion of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, while the Matt Damon drama PROMISED LAND opens in limited release on Friday.

Will you be going to the movies on Christmas? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $36.7 M $149.8 M
2. Jack Reacher $15.6 M
NEW
3. This Is 40 $12 M
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4. Rise of the Guardians $5.9 M $79.6 M
5. Lincoln $5.6 M $116.7 M
6. The Guilt Trip $5.3 M $7.4 M
7. Monsters Inc. 3D $5 M $6.5 M
8. Skyfall $4.7 M $279.9 M
9. Life of Pi $3.8 M $76.1 M
10. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2) $2.6 M $281.6 M

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Source: Box Office Mojo

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