Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema debuted The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theaters at 10 PM and midnight showings last night, earning $8.8 million from these early screenings, $1.25 million of which came from IMAX 3D screenings.
The figure is the second highest midnight gross in December, behind its predecessor The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which earned $13 million from early screenings last year. The sequel's take is 32% less than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's midnight haul, although analysts expect The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to equal the the first movie's $84 million opening weekend earnings.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has also earned $8.5 million from its Wednesday opening in nine international territories, such as France ($2.8 million) and Sweden ($1.7 million). Warner Bros. also reported that the sequel took in $15.23 million on Thursday, for a two-day tally of $23.7 million, which is 11% higher than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's two-day international opening. Germany's opening day on Thursday was the biggest opening of the year, earning $3.4 million on 1,462 screens, with a 75% market share. Mexico also opened yesterday with $909,000 on 2,555 screens and 58% market share, while New Zealand posted a massive debut of $575,000 at 251 screens, with an 87% market share.
Check back on Sunday to see how The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug fared in its three-day opening weekend.