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Weekend Box Office: The Hobbit Sets New December Record in Top Spot

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By Chris Kavan - 12/16/12 at 11:14 PM CT

As predicted, The Hobbit has no problem completely obliterating the competition in what has thus far been a slow number of weeks. However, there was also good news for other films - especially those nominated for Golden Globes, as awards season provided a decent bump for a handful of films.

1) THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth was a welcome return for audiences as well. It easily took the top spot - making twice as much as all the other films combined - for a total of $84.77 million. It topped the previous December record of $77.2 million set by I Am Legend back in 2007. It was also higher than the three-day start for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($73.3 million).

Although it fell short of a $100 million opening, it's looking like the film will stick around awhile given that audiences awarded it an A cinemascore, which rises to an A+ with those 18 and under. If it can get by on good word of mouth and repeat business, a $300 million total should be in reach, though whether it can top the $315.5 million of Fellowship of the Rings remains to be seen.

While 3D showings only accounted for 49% of sales (about on par with most 3D releases this year) it did enjoy a nice $10.1 million from IMAX showings, with the higher 48 FPS apparently bringing in a $44,000 per-theater average (as opposed to $31,000 per theater for traditional IMAX screens) per studio estimates.

2) RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

Down 28.7%, Dreamworks animated Rise of the Guardians took in $7.42 million in second place to raise its total to $71.3 million over four weeks. Although its holiday theme has helped it to hold relatively well, the next couple of weeks are going to get crowded, meaning the animated film has little chance at attaining the $100 million status.

3) LINCOLN

Speaking of $100 million, Lincoln managed to not only break $100 million, but become the highest-grossing most-likely Oscar-nominated film of the year. Thanks to a probably Golden Globes bump, Lincoln rose from fourth to third place with $7,2 million - down just under 19% from last week. That raised its total to $107.89 million, topping Argo's $104.9 million to lead all Oscar contending films in terms of total gross.

4) SKYFALL

With The Hobbit stealing quite a bit of its thunder, the James Bond film still managed to hold up pretty well, down just 35% in fourth place with $7 million. That gives it a new total of $272.36 million and ultimately it should be able to surpass the total of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (currently sitting at $276.86 million) for the year - and a $300 million total is still within reach.

5) LIFE OF PI

Once again hanging on in fifth place, Ang Lee's film took in $5.4 million to raise its total to $69.55 million. It was also down just over 35% but has been pretty steady for four weeks.

Outside the top five, David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook managed to crack the top 10 (also likely due to a Golden Globes boost) dropping just 4% to take in $2.08 million to raise its total to $16.95 million. The film still hasn't expanded past its 371 million - though you have to think that with major awards coming up, it's bound to get a nationwide expansion before the Oscars.

Next week Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher - trying to corner the action market. This is 40 revists Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in the latest offering from Judd Apatow. Finally, Seth Rogan takes a Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand. I have a feeling The Hobbit is still going to take the weekend, but at least the offerings are taking different approaches.

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