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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey got off to a good start at the box office thanks to midnight screenings overnight. Warner Bros., which co-produced the film with MGM, said today that the film grossed $13 million at midnight.
According to The Wrap, this gives the film the best December midnight opening in box office history. The total includes $1.6 million made at 326 IMAX locations.
Warner Bros. said that it will be happy with a $70 million opening, but analysts predict that it will do much better than that. It’s expected to make between $95 million and $100 million this weekend. That would set the record for the biggest December opening ever.
EW notes that a $100 million opening would give it the fifth-best opening of 2012. Marvel’s The Avengers holds the top spot with $207.4 million on its opening weekend in May. That film made $18 million at midnight screenings.
The Hobbit is the first part of Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy to Lord of the Rings and is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book. It hasn’t received the overwhelmingly positive acclaim that the LOTR films did, since some are complaining about the 170-minute run time and the higher frame rate experiment.
It is the only wide release this weekend and is opening at 4,045 locations.