13 December 2012 8:54 PM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

As Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits U.S. movie theaters at 12:01 a.m. Friday, several factors are converging that will make it a bigger moneymaker at the worldwide box office than any of the "Lord of the Rings" movies.  Unprecedented anticipation, 3D premium pricing and a greatly expanded international market give Jackson's latest Middle-earth epic an edge over the "Rings" trilogy, which collectively took in nearly $3 billion globally. With the prequel on a whopping 4,045 screens in the U.S.. Warner Bros. says it's looking for a $70 million opening »

- Todd Cunningham

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