Hordes of moviegoers journeyed to Middle-earth to see the final installment of the “Hobbit” franchise.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” has raked in $90.6 million in ticket sales since its release on Wednesday, according to studio estimates.
“We’re all smiling at Warner Bros.,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s executive vice president and general sales manager. “I think the marketing campaign that we had was really able to show the incredible action and generate interest in the film.”
Going into the weekend, Peter Jackson’s final installment of the “Hobbit” franchise was expected to open taking in $70 million to $75 million through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada.
The film made $13.6 million on 360 Imax screens, making it the best December opening on Imax.
The franchise’s second installment, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” pulled in $258.4 million in the U.S. and Canada and $700.8 million internationally. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” part one of the franchise, made roughly $1 billion worldwide in 2012.
All three films are based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien, who also penned “The Lord of the Rings."
Like the other “Hobbit” films, the last installment drew mostly male audiences. About 60% of moviegoers were male, and 60% were over the age of 25.
It earned a 60% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an A minus grade on audience polling firm CinemaScore.
Meanwhile, the third installment of 20th Century Fox’s “Night at the Museum” franchise took second, debuting with $17.3 million.
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” which stars Ben Stiller, received a B+ on CinemaScore. It attracted a younger crowd: 54% of audiences were under the age of 25 and 51% were male.
It is one of the final film appearances for the late Robin Williams, who reprises his role as Teddy Roosevelt.
“Annie,” released by Sony, was also a draw for families. Though the film was one of the five pirated by Sony hackers, it rounded out the top three with $16.3 milllion.
Big names like Jay Z and Will Smith signed on to help produce the remake of the family musical, which stars Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Cameron Diaz and Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie).
“This was a great opening for us and we know it’s going to expand well through the holidays,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s head of distribution.
In an email statement to The Times, director Will Gluck called the piracy and hacking “a truly awful violation that I fear we’ll all be dealing with for weeks to come.”
He added: “The one sliver of a silver lining I cling to however, is that this movie we made about hope, inspiration, and optimism might ultimately be seen by a few more people.”
The family musical remake has a paltry 29% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes but a high A minus grade on CinemaScore.
Sony recently pulled its comedy “The Interview” from screens after hackers threatened moviegoers, spurring controversy and a widespread public debate about the studio’s decision.
Federal authorities blamed the attack on North Korea, which they say sought retaliation against the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg film for depicting the fictional assassination of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
The sprint to the end of the year is a key time as studios try to make their numbers and best one another at the box office. So far this year, ticket sales year-to-date are down 5% compared with last year’s domestic record of $10.9 billion.
Other notable films opening in the next few weeks include “Into the Woods,” “Unbroken” and “The Gambler.”
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