Made in New Zealand: 'Hobbit the

Sequel still trailed its predecessor's opening by 7% locally

Dominating Boxing Day box office in Australia, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” opened there with a whopping estimated $4.9 million, making for the holiday’s second-largest opening ever in Oz.

“The Desolation of Smaug,” which accounted for 60% of the country’s top five market share, landed in Australia only 7% behind its predecessor, “An Unexpected Journey,” the Boxing Day record holder locally.

Internationally, “Smaug” — the second installment in the Warner-New Line-MGM “Hobbit” trilogy — is approaching $300 million from 57 markets, lifting the film’s worldwide haul to nearly $450 million. Domestically, “Smaug” edged out Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” for top B.O. on Christmas Day, with $9.3 million.

The stellar start in Oz is not surprising given the success of the original. Pic’s opening-day gross there lags its predecessor’s by the same margin as in the States.

Regardless, the gross positions “Smaug” for a healthy holiday run in Australia, where the first film made nearly $44 million locally. If “Smaug” continues to trail the first film by 7%, then it should cume around $40 million.

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