The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies is well on its way to dominating at the box office over the holiday season, debuting with $11.2 million in Tuesday night screenings. That tally bests last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which took in $8.8 million from preview screenings, but it is still lower than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's $13 million haul in 2012. The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies opened in over 3,100 theaters last night for early screenings, with the Middle Earth finale expanding to 3,875 theaters by Friday, 85% of which can screen the film in 3D or large formats.
The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies has already earned $122.1 million in 37 international markets, with 71% of that total coming from 3D screenings. This is the first Hobbit movie to open on a Wednesday, mirroring The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which opened on mid-December Wednesdays for three consecutive years. The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King still holds the December record for the largest Wednesday-Sunday box office total, with $121.4 million, followed by The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers with $102 million. We'll have to wait until the end of the weekend to see if The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies can match any of those totals.
This final adventure could also reverse the declining trend of the franchise at the box office. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earned $303 million domestically and just over $1 billion worldwide, while last year's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took in $258 million domestic and $958 million worldwide. While those are still impressive box office numbers by today's standards, both domestic takes fall short of every Lord of the Rings movie.
Director Peter Jackson's Middle Earth finale will go up against the Sony Pictures musical remake Annie and 20th Century Fox's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which both open on Friday, December 19. Do you think this final Hobbit movie has what it takes to set December box office records? Be sure to check back throughout the week and weekend for more on The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies's box office haul.