I will be adding to the box office coffers tomorrow–well, I guess I already have, since my tickets are pre-sold. This makes me very happy for Richard and all the cast and crew who worked so hard to make this a reality.
This is from Deadline Hollywood at deadline.com. Thanks to RACentral for sharing on Twitter!
FRIDAY 11:15 PM, 4TH UPDATE: This is the largest Christmas release of all time. The latest from my esources has The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey looking around $37M and $96M for the weekend with an ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences. (My Warner Bros insiders peg the numbers tonight at $36M-$39M and the weekend at $81M-$89M. I’ll know more specifics in the morning.) There are two records shattered – biggest December Friday and biggest December weekend for the domestic box office. The opening for the 3D actioner from MGM/Warner Bros in 4,045 theaters is grossing much larger than The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Today’s take includes $13M from 3,100 midnight shows, including $1.6M on IMAX screens. The pic based on matinee trends had been on a $113+M fast track for its first U.S.-Canada weekend but then its business slowed in the evening no doubt because of its very long 2 hour, 46 minute running time. Hollywood knew Peter Jackson‘s film adaptation of the 1937 JRR Tolkien novel would be one of the monster holiday hits so left this weekend to the pic. It’s already the #1 movie abroad and has taken in $27.3M from 42 international markets going into Friday. My insiders believe it’s very possible for the movie to end this weekend with approximately $200M worldwide. Yowza! In the U.S. and Canada, MovieTickets said box office advance tickets for the pic accounted for nearly 91% of sales going into Friday, with nearly 18% coming from those wanting to see the film in standard 3D format, 8% in High Frame Rate 3D, and 7% in IMAX 3D. The record opening for this weekend is I Am Legend‘s $77m. Remember, all Lords Of The Rings 2D films opened Christmas Week whereas 3D The Hobbit will play to lower openings but huge multiples helped by 3D and IMAX. The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey‘s production was managed by New Line Cinema with parent company Warner Bros Pictures handling worldwide theatrical distribution. Select international territories (including Scandinavia) as well as all international television distribution was handled by MGM.
In North America, the film is playing in 4,045 theaters, a record number for December. That includes 3,160 3D theaters and 461 theaters in the 48 frames-per-second format. Overseas, The Hobbit is opening in 55 territories on approximately 17,000 screens this weekend (excluding Australia, China and Russia). The pic scored a record opening in New Zealand where it was filmed and which is Jackson’s native country, marking the biggest non-holiday debut for a Wednesday.
The Hobbit was digitally re-mastered into IMAX 3D format and a select number of IMAX theatres will be presenting the pic using a higher frame rate (HFR) – presenting the picture in 48 frames per second (fps) which is closer to what the human eye actually sees. This is twice the rate of the standard 24 fps, which is the current format in
cinemas worldwide. This use of HFR 3D is the first use of this method in a major motion picture release.