'The Hobbit' stays atop box office for third week
FILE - This publicity file photo released by Warner Bros., shows the character Gollum voiced by Andy Serkis in a scene from the fantasy adventure "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (AP Photo/Warner Bros., File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third-straight week and capping a record-setting $10.8 billion year in moviegoing.
The Warner Bros. fantasy epic from director Peter Jackson, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, made nearly $33 million this weekend, according to Sunday studio estimates, despite serious competition from some much-anticipated newcomers. It's now made a whopping $686.7 million worldwide and $222.7 million domestically alone.
Two big holiday movies — and potential Academy Awards contenders — also had strong openings. Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti Western-blaxploitation mash-up "Django Unchained" came in second place for the weekend with $30.7 million. The Weinstein Co. revenge comedy, starring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the Civil War South and Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter who frees him and then makes him his partner, has earned $64 million since its Christmas Day opening.
And in third place with $28 million was the sweeping, all-singing "Les Miserables," based on the international musical sensation and the Victor Hugo novel of strife and uprising in 19th century France. The Universal Pictures film, with a cast of A-list actors singing live on camera led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe has made $67.5 million domestically and $116.2 worldwide since debuting on Christmas.
Additionally, the smash-hit James Bond adventure "Skyfall" has now made $1 billion internationally to become the most successful film yet in the 50-year franchise, Sony Pictures announced Sunday. The film stars Daniel Craig for the third time as the iconic British superspy.
"This is a great final weekend of the year," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "How perfect to end this year on such a strong note with the top five films performing incredibly well."
FILE - This undated publicity file photo released by Twentieth Century Fox and Walden Media shows Billy Crystal, left, as Artie, holding on to his grandson, Kyle Harrison Breitkopf, as Barker, who doesn't like the idea of Marisa Tomei, center, as mother Alice and Tom Everett Scott as dad Phil leaving for a vacation in a scene from the film, "Parental Guidance." (AP Photo/Twentieth Century Fox/Walden Media, Phil Caruso, File)
The week's other new wide release, the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler comedy "Parental Guidance" from 20th Century Fox, made $14.8 million over the weekend for fourth place and $29.6 million total since opening on Christmas.
Dergarabedian described the holding power of "The Hobbit" in its third week as "just amazing." Jackson shot the film, the first of three prequels to his massively successful "Lord of the Rings" series, in 48 frames per second — double the normal frame rate — for a crisper, more detailed image. It's also available in the usual 24 frames per second and both 2-D and 3-D projections.