17 December 2012 4:53 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

An Unexpected Journey set to be one of top five movies of 2012 in region after spectacular December opening

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth and the first instalment of a new fantasy trilogy based on Jrr Tolkien's The Hobbit, has broken records for a December opening in North America with a spectacular $84.77m (£52m) haul.

The figure is only the fourth highest Us and Canadian debut this year, but it beat the $77.2m record for a Christmas release held by Will Smith sci-fi vehicle I Am Legend in 2007. Intriguingly, An Unexpected Journey was also ahead of the $77.025m figure taken by James Cameron's box-office megalith Avatar in December 2009. Its worldwide haul of $222.97m (£137.6m) sets it on course to be one of the year's top five films – something of a vindication for Jackson after a difficult pre-release period. »

- Ben Child

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