Peter Jackson's final Tolkien film is attracting cinema-goers in their droves, and taking many times more than this week's other new releases.
In news that will cheer the film industry after what has been a tumultuous week, the new Hobbit picture is performing extremely well, leading the box offices in its opening week.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the final instalment of Peter Jackson’s widescreen depiction of J. R. R. Tolkien’s classic work of fiction, has taken $51 million since its opening in the States on Wednesday, including $16.6 million on Friday alone.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is racing away at the top of the box office charts
If current projections hold, some pundits believe that Five Armies will have an $85 million five-day opening period, which would put it up there with other big-name trilogy concluders like The Matrix and the second Star Wars series.
This puts it streets ahead of its nearest competitors, with Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb estimated to net a $20 million weekend. The Ben Stiller film, which features the late Robin Williams in one of his final performances, is the third of its franchise, and grossed $5.6 million on Friday.
Behind that is Annie with a Friday take of $5.3 million, whose release was put forward from Christmas Day in order to generate word of mouth among its key demographic of schoolkids. It stars Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, and it has already earned a Golden Globe nomination for 11 year old Quvenzhane Wallis for her role as the titular character.
Hollywood has been hit by the biggest entertainment news story of the week, that of the Seth Rogen / James Franco comedy The Interview being pulled from its Christmas Day release following the threats of cyberhackers against Sony and theaters that were scheduled to show the movie.