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Hobbit leapfrogs Bond in box office stakes

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.

More by Nevil Gibson

Comments and questions

Wonderful. I understand it's been filmed in 3-D and at a zillion frames per second, making these lill hideous creatures lifelike. Is it OK to take a mallet with me into the cinema?

Great effort from the brilliant Sir Peter Jackson and his incredible team at Miramar. Awesome Kiwi ingenuity and very well deserved. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. 10/10, but I could be a little biased.

It's sad that our government plays favourites with the billionaire Peter Jackson by subsidising his productions but holds down the smaller up-coming guys with regulations so they can't compete or get a start in life.

Sorry but this film seemed more childish, contrived and trite than your average disney holiday flick for small children.

As long as most moviegoers (perhaps including up-and-coming adults) are paying to watch, who really cares when monies are rolling in....

Sadly, true ... never mind quality, where's the $$?

Great, so I guess that means we will get back our millions in subsidies we gave WB and Weta.

Did Weta get a subsidy? Don't remember reading or hearing about that.

Yip, Andy, they did - (wcc ratepayer) subsidies and the big $ bonus to WB.
But hey, no, we don't get back the money, so it's a good the PM gives the studio execs flowers when they visit and he goes to Helliwood on social business so that we can continue to support a lucrative film studio.

Peter Jackson is a purveyor of CGI dreck.
And success does not mean quality. Actually, with the previews I saw with this movie, over-stimulation of the senses in lieu of a well-told story -- or well-developed characters -- seems to be the state of moviemaking today. Moviegoers expect heightened-stimulation now, so everything else is superficial.

And the CGI universe has very little to do with the real universe -- and it shows.

Did you want him to re-write the Hobbit to suit you specifically?

Try reading a post before commenting on it.

Pity we couldn't keep all the dollars here - could be better than Fonterra .. god knows we need it ...

A lot of critics have panned this movie, but lest we forget that going to the movies with our children and loved ones is to enjoy the experience of sitting in a cinema, eating junk food and having fun. I don't think you can ever compare the film to the book, and I don't believe that was Peter's intention. Peter makes films to entertain us, to take us all into another world, and look within ourselves, for the inner child is always there, and I personally think it's great that all ages can share in the genius of transferring Tolkien's literature to film. The Hobbit is a film that discusses the good and the bad, and it is great to see that this type of genre is not a dying art. ::))

I'm sure there are a large number who would love the financial ability to enjoy that theatre experience you describe. It is out of the league of many in our fair country, unfortunately.

I don't mind a little bit of saccharine in a cup of tea, but I don't want a little bit of tea in a cup of saccharine.

Who cares what the film is like! Not my cup of tea, like so many of the above. But plenty like it, and it's damn good business, so all power to The Hobbit.

Well done, Sir Peter Jackson!

So you say ... "Who cares what the film is like and well done."

That's a queer thing to say, as the only thing done well here was that the country was swindled into doing the studio's risk management on a giant three-part poo fest. "Well done".

On a positive note, I can see from the comments that a minority of you guys are not tasteless idiots.

PS: Suzywong55 the genre is not a dying art .