14 December 2013 2:59 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

‘The Hobbit 2′ weekend box office: Far behind ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in North America? (Photo: Orlando Bloom as Legolas in ‘The Hobbit 2′) First the (domestic) good news for distributor Warner Bros. and producing companies Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, New Line Cinema, and WingNut Films: The Hobbit 2 aka The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second movie in Peter Jackson’s $567 million-budgeted* The Hobbit trilogy, opened Friday, December 13, 2013, with an estimated $31.14 million from 3,903 North American venues, including $8.8 million from Thursday midnight shows. That likely means that the sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have earned more than $70 million in the U.S. and Canada by Sunday evening. Early Friday estimates indicated that The Hobbit 2 would debut below the $70 million mark at the domestic box office. Now, The Hobbit 2 bad news: A year ago, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened with a — relatively speaking — disappointing $84.61 million at 4,045 theaters. Even if it reaches $75 million, »

- Zac Gille

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