'The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' leads box office, fails to match last year’s 'Hobbit' opening

By Daniel S Levine,

Director Peter Jackson and Bilbo Baggins were back in theaters this weekend, bringing a dragon along this time. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned a huge opening this weekend, although it failed to match last year’s An Unexpected Journey opening.

Smaug debuted to $73.7 million, missing Journey’s $84.6 million opening a year ago, notes Entertainment Weekly. That’s a 13 percent drop from Journey, but still the fourth-highest December debut in history. Journey holds the top spot, ahead of I Am Legend ($77.2 million) and Avatar ($77 million).

Warner Bros. and MGM co-financed the film for $225 million and have to expect that it will do as well internationally as Journey did. That film wound up grossing $1 billion worldwide.

The only issue may be that Warner Bros. wasn’t able to draw as diverse a crowd as they thought. Evangeline Lilly and Orlando Bloom, whose characters didn’t appear in the book, were heavily featured in the marketing, but the audience was still 60 percent male and 64 percent over 25.

According to Box Office Mojo, Disney’s Frozen stayed strong in second place with $22.2 million. The animated hit has now grossed $164.4 million.

In third place was Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which only managed $16.2 million, the worst start ever for a Madea film.

The rest of the top 5 included The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($13.2 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($2.7 million).

image: Warner Bros.


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