‘The Hobbit’ Strong with $31 Million Start Friday Despite Trailing Original

Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug

'A Madea Christmas' second Friday with $5.7 million, but expected to fall behind 'Frozen' for third

Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” opened to $31.1 million domestically Friday, a solid start as the fantasy epic aims to broaden its appeal at the worldwide box office.

“Desolation of Smaug” is expected to take north of $70 million at the U.S. Box office while “An Unexpected Journey” bowed roughly 13% higher with $84.6 million last year. The opposite is true abroad though where “Smaug” opened 3% ahead of its predecessor on Wednesday.

The original “Hobbit” earned a whopping $714 million overseas and over $1 billion worldwide.

“Smaug” is also riding stronger reviews with a Cinemascore of A- so long-term prospects are still highly profitable for the second fantasy adventure based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel.

Where Thursday’s late night showings were reportedly the second highest midnight haul for a December release on record, this three-day take will be closer to fourth place for December bows, just ahead of the third “Lord of the Rings” film.

Imax showings accounted for about 13% of “Smaug’s” Stateside haul Friday.

Elsewhere, “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” took second Friday with $5.7 million, but the Lionsgate laffer is expected to fall to third after Disney’s “Frozen” by Sunday, with between $15 million and $16 million. The Mouse’s toon tuner is looking at about $25 million in its fourth frame, which would bring its domestic cume above $160 million.

Early reports had “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” also from Lionsgate, beating “Madea Christmas” this weekend, but that no longer appears to be the case as the actioner heads to about $14 million in its fourth outing.

The weekend’s final opener, “American Hustle” from Sony, bowed on six screens with an admirable one-day per screen average of $35,000. That number is expected to jump to about $120,000 through Sunday, making for one of the best per screen openings for a live action film, behind “The Master” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”

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  1. Jessica says:

    What great movie, I really enjoyed watching it. On of the best movies that I have seen in a couple of months or so. FYI, I was able to watch The Hobbit online for free at moviesatyou.com

  2. Kram says:

    The only factor in this “stupid” expectation is this is the busiest time for Christmas shopping days before Christmas, which = an outstanding showing considering the priority is Christmas right now.
    This industry is ignorant to common sense and should focus on broadening the the blockbuster opening to all seasons to speadout the wealth of hit movies being made in heavy volume These days. Summer and winter is now too full and forces people with tight schedules to make a choice on what movie to see…. February is the next bench mart to build on before summer hits, this increases profit in these calender days that are normally slow… ie; Gravity, it opened on a non summer/ winter big budget movie season and had no competition THIS is the new standard. Learn you stupid movie executives.
    Mark H. Call me, if you want to add 25% over last year first quarter.

  3. A. Smith says:

    I think weather is playing a factor with low grosses. It’s snowing hard in a big part of the Midwest and Northeast.

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