'The Hobbit’ Movie Breaks Record of ‘Lord Of The Rings,’ Rakes in $84.8M in First Weekend Sales

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 18, 2012 1:28 PM EST

The movie "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has beaten the first weekend sales receipts of the previous "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy films, with sales recorded at a whopping $84.8 million in North America alone.

Produced by Time Warner's Warner Bros. Pictures, the Middle Earth adaptation exceeded the first weekend sales run of "I Am Legend" by Will Smith, which opened with $77.2 million in 2007. It likewise outdid the movie "Avatar" December opening at $77 million.

Despite weak reviews, "The Hobbit," was nevertheless a hit with audiences, which gave the film an "A'' CinemaScore.

"What's really important, what makes this special is the CinemaScore," Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros, said. "All these things point to a great word of mouth. We haven't even made it to the Christmas holidays yet. Kids are still in school this week."

Directed by Peter Jackson, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," is the first part of a 3-D trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's latest novel. It took $200 million to produce.

Among Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, it was the final installment, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," which raked in the highest first weekend sales, at $72.6 million, when it opened in 2003.

"The Hobbit, or There and Back Again," but better known by its abbreviated title "The Hobbit," was written by English author J.R.R. Tolkien to come off as a children's book fantasy novel. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $84.8 million ($138.2 million international).

2. "Rise of the Guardians," $7.4 million ($20.1 million international).

3. "Lincoln," $7.2 million.

4. "Skyfall," $7 million ($12.2 million international).

5. "Life of Pi," $5.4 million ($11.5 million international).

6. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," $5.2 million ($13 million international).

7. "Wreck-It Ralph," $3.3million ($4.7 million international).

8. "Playing for Keeps," $3.2 million ($1.4 million international).

9. "Red Dawn," $2.4 million.

10. "Silver Linings Playbook," $2 million ($370,000 international).

Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:

1. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $138.2 million.

2. "Rise of the Guardians," $20. 1 million.

3. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," $13 million.

4. "Skyfall," $12.2 million.

5. "Life of Pi," $11.5 million.

6. "Wreck-It Ralph," $4.7 million.

7. "26 Years," $3.5 million.

8. "Whatcha Wearin'? (My P.S. Partner)," $3 million.

9. "Tutto Tutto Niente Niente," $2.4 million.

10. "Pitch Perfect," $2.3 million.

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