Peter Jackson's latest fantasy movie "The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey" stormed the North America over the weekend, rolling up a whopping 84.8 million dollars in ticket sales to finish as the No. 1 in the box office derby and Hollywood's best all-time December opening.
The epic, a prequel to the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" franchise and the first of a trio which launched Jackson's new 3-D project, set a record for any movie opening in a December, beating out post-apocalyptic thriller "I Am Legend" which debuted in 2007 with a 77.2 million dollar gate.
The Jackson film, featuring a 48-frame-per-second format that Jackson launched to widen its appeal to moviegoers, grossed half of its box office receipts from 3-D multiplexes, according to distributor the Warner Bros. Included in the receipts are 10.1 million dollars that the widely-expected fantasy earned from IMAX venues, which represented 11.9 percent of the three-day gross.
The movie outperformed holdovers when it debuted in 4,045 locations in the United States and Canada on Friday, and bagged 37. 6 million dollars in tickets on that day alone.
Moviegoers who saw the film liked it, and assigned it an A CinemaScore rating, which represents a testament to its good performance in the weeks to come.
This flick is a male-skewing one. Fifty-seven percent of the filmgoers was male and 58 percent 25 years and older.
"Rise Of The Guardians" finished in second place with a distant 7.4 million dollars weekend, registering a mere 29 percent drop from last weekend. The Paramount release has grossed 71.4 million dollars in tickets over four weeks in exhibition.
"Lincoln," Steven Spielsberg's epic biopic about the 16th U.S. president which emerged as a top frontrunner in the awards season, was No. 3 with a 7.2 million dollar gross. It has taken in 107.9 million dollars during six weeks of business.
Rounding out the top 10 most popular films in North American this weekend were "Skyfall" (USD 7 million), "Life Of Pi" (USD 5.4 million), "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" (USD 5.2 million), "Wreck-It Ralph" (USD 3.3 million), "Playing For Keeps" (USD 3.2 million), "Red Dawn" (USD 2.4 million), and "Silver Linings Playbook" (USD 2 million).