Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” is expected to set December opening records at the domestic box office and overseas.
Nine years after The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King earned over $1.1 billion worldwide and won 11 Academy Awards, director Peter Jackson is taking audiences back to Middle Earth with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
According to Box Office Mojo, this first entry in the prequel trilogy is guaranteed to set a new December opening weekend record in 4,045 theaters -- the widest release ever in December – although a three-day start north of $100 million is not in the forecast.
Fellowship of the Ring opened in December 2001, earning $313.4 million at the domestic box office, and the following December The Two Towers grossed $339.8 million. In December 2003, The Return of the King opened to $124.1 million in its first five days before closing with $377 million. All together, the three movies earned over $2.9 billion worldwide on a budget of roughly $300 million.
The current December opening weekend record holder is I Am Legend with $77.2 million.
Box office Mojo predicts The Hobbit will hold on to first place through the holiday season, bringing in upwards of $300 million at the domestic box office. Overseas, the film debuts in 55 markets this weekend, and is expected to net over $700 million from foreign markets.
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.