The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey saw $84.8 million over its first three days at the box office. This easily surpasses I Am Legend‘s record December launch of $77.2 million, a record the film has held since 2007.
The box office take came from 4,045 theaters, giving it $20,958 per theater average. The 326 IMAX locations accounted for $10.1 million of the weekend gross and about 49 percent of The Hobbit‘s weekend take came from 3-D showings.
Despite the strong showing, the release is less than the $100 million some predicted. $37.5 million was earned on Friday, with a 25 percent drop off on Saturday, suggesting many saw the film on its premiere day or at midnight showings.
“We’re very well-positioned to have a huge run,” says Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution, who dismissed the high pre-release projections from box office prognosticators. “They were never anywhere near that from us.”
Despite some negative hype for the high frame rate screenings, Fellman asserted that high frame rate screenings generated a $44,000 per screen average as opposed to a $31,000 average for regular IMAX showings. “[AMC's] biggest numbers came from high frame rate,” he says.
The Hobbit also started off with a robust $138.2 million from 56 territories bringing its early global total to $223 million after only three days. Notable markets the film did not open in include China, Australia, and Russia.