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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey takes record $84.8 million in US

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Story by Jack Foley

THE Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has set a new record in the US for the highest three-day December opening.

The first part of Peter Jackson’s new Tolkien trilogy took an estimated $84.8 million to kick start the blockbuster holiday season in style.

The previous record holder was Will Smith’s I Am Legend, which debuted with $77.2 million in 2007.

Box office pundits are now predicting that the Warner Bros film could earn as much as four times its opening weekend gross through New Year’s Day.

Welcoming the figures, Dan Wellman, Warners president of domestic distribution, told The Hollywood Reporter: “It is great to see Peter’s fans return, along with a new generation of that is embracing Middle-earth. We expect a long and exciting run.”

By comparison, the final part of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, opened in December 2003 with a five day post of $124.1 million, including a weekend opening of roughly $72 million.

Elsewhere at the US box office, awards contenders Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook saw box office boost from their Golden Globe nominations.

Lincoln took $7.2 million to place third behind Rise of the Guardians, which is enjoying good word of mouth. The animated film took $7.4 million.

Next story: Argo and Dark Knight Rises among AFI films of 2012