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.