Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings fans stormed back into Middle-earth over the weekend for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and they chose from several different formats – from 2D to 3D, from IMAX to 48 frames per second.
It all added up to the highest-grossing December opening weekend of all time.
The Hobbit earned an estimated $84.7M, which was enough to top the previous record held by I Am Legend, the Will Smith thriller that earned $77M back in 2007. Speculation ran rampant on Friday that The Hobbit might be able to attain the coveted $100M mark on the weekend, and Warner Bros. certainly took advantage of an unusually weak frame to fill more than 4,000 theaters.
But even though The Hobbit didn’t cross $100M, the massive $84M haul still was enough to decimate the competition at the box office, and got the first chapter of the planned Hobbit trilogy off on the right, hairy foot.
With everyone else basically checking out The Hobbit, the rest of the movies still in theaters had to fight with each other over what amounted to table scraps.
After leading the box office last weekend, Skyfall fell to fourth place with an estimated $7M. Don’t cry for James Bond, however, as the sequel remains the highest-grossing installment in the long-running spy franchise.
Elsewhere on the charts, the strong awards showing over the course of the week for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln helped power the historical effort over the $100M mark. The move earned multiple reviews from the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Hollywood Foreign Press. Such interest keeps fans flocking to Lincoln, which has earned an estimated $107.8M.
And after opening last weekend in sixth place, Playing for Keeps continued to tumble … this time to eighth place.
Here’s the full Top 10 list for the weekend:
MOVIE / WEEKEND / TOTAL
1. The Hobbit, $84.7M
2. Rise of the Guardians, $7.4M, $71.3M
3. Lincoln, $7.2M, $107.8M
4. Skyfall, $7M, $272.3M
5. Life of Pi, $5.4M, $69.5M
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, $5.1M, $276.8M
7. Wreck-It Ralph, $3.2M, $168.7M
8. Playing for Keeps, $3.2M, $10.8M
9. Red Dawn, $2.3M, $40.8M
10. Silver Linings Playbook, $2M, $16.9M