‘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

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is on course to match the final Lord Of The Rings movie in its opening weekend at the US box office.

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).