In just three weeks, Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has overtaken the latest James Bond thriller and threatens last year’s box office champion, The Avengers.
Latest figures from the Motion Picture Distributors Association to January 2 show The Hobbit (Warner Bros) has taken $8.3 million from 203 screens.
This compares with $8.8 million for The Avengers (20th Century Fox) and Skyfall (Sony) with $6.9 million in six weeks of release. Skyfall took just over $500,000 in its latest week from 109 screens.
The family-oriented animated feature Wreck-It Ralph was the best of the rest with a total of $1.3 million after opening on Box Day.
Other holiday releases to open strongly are Life of Pi (20th Century Fox), which garnered $586,000 in just two days, and Quartet, $790,000, which also opened on Boxing Day.
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II dropped sharply and is on only 32 screens after seven weeks for total takings of just over $5 million. It was 2012’s eighth largest grossing film.
UPDATE On the international scene, The Hobbit dropped to third behind new releases Texas Chainsaw 3D and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchanged in North America last weekend but overall takings have advanced to nearly $US300 million.
Strong performance in most other world markets have boosted the total to $US824.8 million, according Box Office Mojo, which says with China yet to open should mean The Hobbit will easy pass the $US1 billion market fairly soon.