Weekend box office: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey breaks records

Weekend box office: Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Despite receiving mostly negative to neutral reviews from critics (read our own review for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY), audiences came out in droves to see Peter Jackson’s big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s classic novel. Not only did the bad reviews not hurt the film’s performance, but the first of the trilogy managed to break records at the weekend box office. First up was the Friday opening, where The Hobbit managed to rake in $37.5 million, $13 million of which was from midnight shows, setting a record Friday for a December opening. It’s also on pace to take in over $90 million for the weekend, which would be a record for largest December opening. Other studios wisely avoided opening their movies on the same week as THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. I’m sure execs at Warner Bros. are happy this morning, but with the negative press, I’m sure they’re nervous about how parts 2 and 3 will fare.

Next week sees Tom Cruise in JACK REACHER and, Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand in THE GUILT TRIP and the “sort-of” sequel to KNOCKED UP, THIS IS 40. But it also sees a slew of limited releases, including ZERO DARK THIRTY, ON THE ROAD, THE IMPOSSIBLE, NOT FADE AWAY and AMOUR. As well as The Hobbit did this weekend, I don’t see it getting a lot of repeat business, mainly because it was such a disappointment, but also because not a whole lot of people can handle that three hour run-time. My guess is Tom Cruise and JACK REACHER take the top spot. Note: the numbers below will be updated as they become final.

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $84.7m

2. Rise of the Guardians $7.4m

3. Lincoln $7.2m

4. Skyfall $7m

5. Life of Pi $5.4m

6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 $5.1m

7. Wreck-It Ralph $3.2m

8. Playing For Keeps $3m

9. Red Dawn $2.2m

10. Silver Linings Playbook $2m

(Deadline)

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