The Hobbit debuted this past weekend across North America and was so popular it set a new record for the box office for the month of December. The movie earned more than $84.8 million between Friday and Sunday. The movie took in more than The Lord of the Rings did in its North American debut during December in 2003 when that movie took in receipts of $72.7 million.
The weekend’s second place finisher was Rise of the Guardians, a family film that is animated and took in $7.4 million. Lincoln, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis earned third place on the weekend taking in more than $7.2 million. Skyfall, the latest edition of the James Bond saga, earned a nice $7 million to take fourth place for the weekend. Rounding out the top five over the weekend was Life of Pi, which earned a little more than $5.4 million.
Prior to this weekend, the previous highest ranking debut for December was by I am Legend in 2007 that starred Will Smith and took in more than $77.2 million for the three days.
Dan Fellman the president of the theatrical distribution unit of Warner Bros. announced that the studio was hoping to reach I am Legend and even surpass it, but outselling it by $7 million was a surprise. He said with the weekend as successful as it was, the full week should take the receipts up to more than $110 million.
Helping the earnings for The Hobbit were Wednesday and Thursday’s preview screenings and the use of formats such as IMAX and 3D, which charges more for ticket prices.
Internationally, The Hobbit earned more than $138 million in just the first five days of its release across a total of 56 markets. The box office takes worldwide for the movie as of Monday morning was $223 million. The movie also set a new record for IMAX as worldwide sales for the movie in IMAX theaters hit $15.1 million.