Movie theaters breathed fire this weekend as “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” struck box-office gold. The
It was a solid opening, but the New Line Cinema,
The original "Hobbit" opened almost a year ago to the day and enjoyed an $84.6-million weekend, making it the best December opening ever. It went on to earn $1 billion worldwide.
Nonetheless, the sequel to the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy juggernaut, which cost about $225 million to make, was more favorably received by critics than its predecessor. It scored a 74% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earned an average grade of A-minus from moviegoers according to market research firm CinemaScore.
"An Unexpected Journey" got only a 65% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although moviegoers went easier on it—giving it an average grade of A through CinemaScore.
"The Desolation of Smaug" is the second in a 3-D trilogy that is a prequel to "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which was also directed by Peter Jackson and earned nearly $3 billion worldwide from 2001 to 2003.
“The Hobbit” films (the third of which, “There and Back Again” will be released next year) are based on Tolkien’s 1937 adventure-fantasy novel “The Hobbit.” They star
The Smaug in the current release is a wicked fire-breathing dragon voiced by in-demand British actor and “Sherlock Holmes” veteran
The weekend box office's second-place spot went to Disney's animated family adventure,
Coming in at No. 3 was “
The Lionsgate film, which again stars Perry in the title role of an eccentric African American matriarch, is the eighth film in the “Madea” franchise and also stars
The biggest opening in the “Madea” series happened in 2009 when “Tyler Perry’s
In limited-release land, "American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks" were both received with much fanfare. "Hustle" took in a particularly impressive $690,000 in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That's a per-location average of $115,000.