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Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has earned more than any other December opening film in history with $84.8 million in its first weekend.
According to the Associated Press, the nearly three-hour-long Warner Bros. film also earned an estimated $138.2 million internationally for an impressive global debut of $223 million, easily beating each of the three openings of The Lord of the Rings films.
It also surpasses big time December openers I Am Legend, which opened with $77.2 million in Dec. of 2007, and Avatar, which opened with $77 million in Dec. of 2009.
The Hobbit is based on the novel of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien and is the prequel to his widely popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is the first of three films to be squeezed out of the novel.
WSJ reports that Warner Bros. domestic distribution head, Dan Fellman, said the studio sensed “both risk and opportunity” in releasing the film prior to the holidays.
"Schools are in session," Mr. Fellman said. "So to come in with this kind of a record-breaking number is really exciting for us. Knowing that the holiday is in front of us, we're going to be in for a long and successful run."