Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," injected a bit of pre-holiday merriment at the box office this weekend, grossing $16.6 million in the U.S. on Friday, and $51 million to date for Warner Brothers since the film's Wednesday opening.
The good cheer was needed. Hollywood's spirits have been dampened by the unprecedented cyber attack on Sony and theater threats that prompted the studio's controversial cancellation of the Christmas Day release of "The Interview" amid fears that moviegoers would stay away from the year's holiday movies.
The strong "Hobbit" opening, with $2.2 million from its Friday haul coming from IMAX alone, put it far ahead of the week's other releases. "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," which went into the weekend with projections for a $20-million weekend, grossed $5.6 million on Friday. The 20th Century Fox comedy, the third in the "Night at the Museum" franchise starring Ben Stiller, was one of Robin Williams' last films.
In third place is Sony's "Annie," which like the studio's currently shelved "The Interview," was originally supposed to open on Christmas Day. The studio bumped up the opening of "Annie" by a week in order to fuel early word of mouth among kids. On Friday, the Jamie Foxx-starring musical grossed $5.3 million. Already, the film has earned 11-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Annie. The studio is hoping for a weekend gross of $16 to $17 million.
Maybe for Sony, the sun will come out tomorrow.