Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth earned a massive $223 million worldwide over its opening weekend. The first film of the Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, destroyed December box office records when it hit theaters in the wee hours of December 14, 2012, raking in $15.1 million in IMAX theaters worldwide - a new record - alone. It also had the biggest domestic December opening of any film in history with $84.78 million (I Am Legend had held the record with $77 million).
Anticipation for The Hobbit was so high that this new film surpassed the opening weekends of any film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, according to Warner Bros Pictures.
Announcing the huge opening, Toby Emmerich, President and Chief Operation Officer, New Line Cinema stated: "It has been a long journey for New Line and our partners to make The Hobbit Trilogy a reality. We're so privileged to continue the journey we started with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy."
Gary Barber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, added: "MGM is so proud to help bring The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to audiences the world over. This film is truly a global event, and touches people in every language."
Jackson adapted the Tolkien novel with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro and also directed the fantasy adventure film. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on December 13, 2013 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again on July 18, 2014.
More on The Hobbit:
- The Hobbit movie review
- Photo gallery
- Cast list
- Interview with Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, and Richard Armitage
(Photo © Warner Bros)