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New in Theaters Dec. 14: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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By Chris Kavan - 12/13/12 at 02:41 PM CT

It has been a couple of slow weeks at the box office. Though overall returns have still been up, it has been very stagnant, with popular films sticking around while new films have floundered. But I guarantee you that this week will see a new #1 film at the box office. In fact, I think the top film at the box office will make just as much as the next nine films combined. Audiences have been yearning for a new hit and I think it's going to explode.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Here we are - another journey to Middle Earth as presented by the man who took us through an epic trilogy, Peter Jackson. This time Martin Freeman plays the genial, if somewhat cautious, hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he is all but forced to go on an adventure with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and a whole gaggle of dwarves led by the steely Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). Along the way they will encounter trolls, goblins and one tricksy ring bearer (Andy Serkis, reprising his Gollum mo-cap performance). While I'm more than willing to return to this fantasy world - there are some rumblings that the 170 minute run time is a bit too long to spend on part one of a new trilogy. If it falls into the same trap as Return of the King and tries to stretch too much with too little - it could hurt it overall. There is also a lot of noise about releashing this at 48 fps versus the standard 24 fps - with some saying the hyper-realistic frame rate hurts the overall film. But from all I've seen from trailers and TV spots, it's looking to capture that same magic that made LOTR such a fun ride. I doubt I'll see it at 48 fps (I think there's only one theater in my state that's playing it that way) so I probably won't comment on that aspect. Still, it's already considered a huge hit, if you take pre-order tickets into account. I expect it will put up quite a fight to compete with the year's top movies in terms of opening, but the long running time may blunt it - though 3D screening could easily make up for the longer running time. It's one of those factors that will have to play out - but have no fear, my review will be up over the weekend.

With one huge film opening, chances are the rest of the field is going to experience a steep falloff after weeks of domination. Skyfall should break the $1 billion world-wide mark, but otherwise, The Hobbit should dominate the box office. I'll be back on Sunday with the final numbers.


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