'The Hobbit' set to match 'Lord Of The Rings 3' during opening weekend at US box office
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is on course for a bumper start across the pond
During its opening weekend in December 2003, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King raked in a whopping $72.6 million ($45 million) - the third highest total ever. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring had opened with $47 million (£29 million) in December 2001, with The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers taking $62 million (£38 million) a year later.
Peter Jackson's first The Hobbit movie finally arrives in US cinemas today (December 14). According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-release tracking suggests that it will earn in excess of $70 million (£43 million) this weekend. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has the added advantage of being released in 3D, which none of the Lord Of The Rings films was.
Meanwhile, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey actually opened in the UK yesterday (December 13), a day earlier than across the pond. Scroll down and click 'play' to watch the trailer - and click here to read NME's review.
Despite its predicted bumper start, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives too late in the year to challenge for the title of 2012's biggest film. Since its release in May, The Avengers has taken over $1.5 billion (£930 million) worldwide, placing it way ahead of The Dark Knight Rises, which is is second with $1.08 billion (£670 million), and Skyfall, currently third with $918 million ($570 million).