UK Box Office


Peter Jackson and JRR Tolkien have consistently proved a potent combination at the box office, so it’s no surprise to see audiences turning up in droves for the first of three films based on The Hobbit. However a haul of £11.60m in four days is far from record-breaking, and isn’t even the biggest opening of 2012. Skyfall debuted in late October with £20.18m, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 followed a month later with £15.85m. Both titles achieved these sums in three days with no previews, as did The Dark Knight Rises when it opened in July with £14.36m. Marvel Avengers Assemble kicked off with £15.78m over its initial four days. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has thus only achieved the fifth-best opening of the year.

The result for this latest Tolkien adaptation compares favorably with 2001’s Fellowship of the Ring, which began its run with £11.06m from five days. The Two Towers followed a year later with a £13.06m opening, also from five days. And then The Return of the King rounded out the trilogy in 2003, debuting with £15.02m, another five-day figure. Considering ticket price inflation in the past decade, and the premium for 3D, initial admissions for The Hobbit are clearly down on all Jackson’s previous Tolkien movies. Backers Warners will be hoping that this more family-skewing tale will prove potent throughout the school holiday this Christmas, and that the best is yet to come.

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