‘The Hobbit’ stays atop box office for third week


AP

LOS ANGELES–“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and capping a record-setting US$10.8 billion year in moviegoing.

The Warner Bros. fantasy epic from director Peter Jackson, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, made nearly US$33 million this weekend, according to Sunday studio estimates, despite serious competition from some much-anticipated newcomers. It’s now made a whopping US$686.7 million worldwide and US$222.7 million domestically 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 US$30.7 million. 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 US$64 million since its Christmas Day opening.

And in third place with US$28 million 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 US$67.5 million domestically and US$116.2 worldwide since debuting on Christmas.

Additionally, the smash-hit James Bond adventure “Skyfall” has now made US$1 billion internationally to become the most successful film yet in the 50-year franchise, Sony Pictures announced Sunday. The film stars Daniel Craig for the third time as the iconic British superspy.

“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 US$14.8 million over the weekend for fourth place and US$29.6 million total since opening on Christmas.