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Weekend Estimates: Hobbit Sets Out with $84.775 Million

December 16th, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is one of the most-keenly anticipated films of 2012, and its opening weekend hasn't disappointed. Warner Bros. is projecting an $84.775 millioon opening weekend, which is comfortably the biggest December weekend of all time. The film also, unsurprisingly, takes the record for biggest day in December. Tempering the celebrations a little is the fact that it will most likely be only the 37th-biggest opening weekend. However, a mid-December opening gives the film a chance to play through the long Holiday weekends to come. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings franchise films have enjoyed multipliers of between 5 and 6 on their opening weekend, which makes The Hobbit a very good bet for a final tally of $350 million, and $400 million can't be ruled out at this stage.

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With The Hobbit dominating the weekend, the rest of the chart is all about competition among returning films, with Lincoln looking strongest at the top of the chart, down just 19% from last weekend. Rise of the Guardians stays in second place though, thanks to a decline of only 29% from last weekend. It could well have two more weekends around $7 million over Christmas and the New Year, and top $100 million in total. The Silver Linings Playbook, meanwhile, fell only 4% on the back of its strong showing among the SAG nominations.

In limited release, Hyde Park on Hudson expanded to 36 theaters this weekend and will post around $300,000 over three days -- creditable numbers, but an average of $8,261 per theater suggests significant expansion is unlikely. Similarly, Rust & Bone continues to post great numbers, with $56,000 from six venues expected for this weekend, but that suggests a strong limited run to come, rather than a breakout hit (as is to be expected for a foreign-language film, of course).

- Weekend Estimates

Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Silver Linings Playbook, Hyde Park on Hudson, De rouille et d’os, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings