The Hobbit holds on at box office
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has continued to rule them all at the US box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and capping a record-setting 10.8 billion dollar year in movie-going.
The Warner Bros fantasy epic from director Peter Jackson, based on the JRR Tolkien novel, made nearly 32 million dollars at the weekend, according to final studio figures, despite serious competition from some much-anticipated newcomers, and has now made 221.7 million dollars in the US and Canada alone.
Two big holiday movies - and potential Academy Awards contenders - also had strong openings. Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti Western-blaxploitation mash-up Django Unchained came in second place for the weekend with 30.1 million dollars.
The Weinstein Co revenge comedy, starring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the Civil War South and Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter who frees him and then makes him his partner, has earned 63.4 million since its Christmas Day opening.
And in third place with 27.2 million dollars was the sweeping, all-singing Les Miserables, based on the international musical sensation and the Victor Hugo novel of strife and uprising in 19th century France.
The Universal Pictures film, with a cast of A-list actors singing live on camera led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe has made 66.7 million dollars in North America since debuting at Christmas.
"This is a great final weekend of the year," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "How perfect to end this year on such a strong note with the top five films performing incredibly well."
The week's other new wide release, the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy Parental Guidance from 20th Century Fox, made 14.6 million dollars over the weekend for fourth place and 29.3 million total since opening on Christmas.
Making up the top five was Paramount's Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise as the big screen version of Lee Child's popular action hero. The film took 14 million dollars, taking it's overall total to 44.7 million.