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Box Office: ‘Interview’ Tops $3 Million, ‘Hobbit,’ ‘Woods,’ ‘Unbroken’ Continue to Surprise

The Interview” has left a solid impression at the box office, despite the sea of trouble leading up to its release.

After opening to $1 million-plus on Christmas Day, the Sony comedy is headed for $2.8 million this weekend.

As expected, the controversial pic is far behind wide releases: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the clear winner for the second consecutive weekend, while “Into the Woods” and “Unbroken” are in a tight race for second and third place, with “Woods” leading.

If estimates hold — each movie is projected to haul in at least $45 million during the four-day holiday period — the final weekend of the year will finish strong, up as much as 10% from the same time frame in 2013.

Sony’s “Interview” was dropping off on Friday, earning $725,000 at 331 U.S. locations. This could partly be attributed to its day-and-date VOD release; it’s available on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox and Sony’s own site. Major chains such as AMC, Regal and Carmike refused to show the film due to its VOD release.

Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” finale brought in $15.7 million on Friday as it eyed a No. 1 finish and second-weekend total between $42 million and $43 million. The fantasy epic is down just 22%, bringing its impressive 12-day total to $170 million.

Disney’s “Into the Woods” came in third on Friday, but will finish the weekend as a runner-up. Like its competitor “Unbroken,” the musical comedy has come in above estimates, reeling in $12.2 million on Friday for a weekend above $33 million and a four-day total of $48 million.

Directed by Rob Marshall, the movie – adapted from Stephen Sondheim’s musical – boasts an all-star cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp and Chris Pine.

Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” is hot on the heels of “Into the Woods.” The war drama from Universal made $12.3 million on Friday in the U.S., barely edging out “Woods,” but will fall to third come Sunday for an estimated weekend finish of $32 million. This would bring its four-day total far above forecasts to $47 million.

A couple of holdovers, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” and “Annie,” both family-friendly fare, rounded out the top five.

“Night at the Museum” was fourth on Friday with $1.9 million. The Fox sequel is en route to $21 million-plus, which will raise its two-week cume to $56 million.

Sony’s “Annie” took in $6.1 million on Friday on its way to a weekend north of $17 million, raising its cume to more than $46 million.

Other new releases, Paramount’s remake of “The Gambler” and the Weinstein Co.’s “Big Eyes,” are headed for just under $14 million and above $4 million, respectively.

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