15 December 2012 10:06 AM, PST | EW - Inside Movies | See recent EW.com - Inside Movies news »

We already knew that The Hobbit earned a whopping $13.0 million during midnight showings, but over the course of its first full day in theaters the film took in an estimated $37.5 million, the highest gross ever for a December opening day.

The next best December bow was also of the Middle-earth variety — Lord of the Rings: Return of the King grossed $34.5 million on its opening day, a Wednesday, in 2003. Notably, The Hobbit sold fewer tickets on its opening day than Return of the King, but its gross was higher because of ticket price inflation and 3-D/IMAX surcharges. Still, huge is »


- Grady Smith

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