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Peter Jackson’s decision to split J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit into three films instead of just two is looking better and better for Warner Bros. The second film, The Desolation of Smaug, has already gotten off to a good start with $8.8 million at midnight.
That’s the second-highest midnight debut for a film released in December. Its predecessor, last year’s An Unexpected Journey, still holds the record with $13 million from midnight screenings, notes HitFix.
Journey kicked off its run with $84.6 million and finished with $303 million domestically. Analysts are certain that Smaug won’t be able to match that this weekend. Box Office Mojo is predicting that the film won’t pass $70 million, although some are expecting around $80 million.
The trouble for Smaug will be overcoming the mixed response from Journey, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Jackson’s Middle-Earth films are a genre to themselves, so fans will definitely still be coming out to see it.
The only other wide release is Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which will probably make around $25 million as his films usually do. It could do a bit better, with crowds looking for a Christmas movie to see this holiday season.
Disney’s Frozen is expected to add another $20 million, while Hunger Games: Catching Fire will hang around with over $10 million. David O. Russell’s American Hustle opens at six locations before expanding on Wednesday.
image: Warner Bros.