Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit : The Battle of the Five Armies’ enlivened the North American box office with a strong $90.6m five-day opening above expectations off 3,875 theatres and should play well over the Christmas period after receiving a powerful ‘A- CinemaScore from first night audiences. The Middle Earth finale earned a high $7.2m off Premium Large Format screens and set a new December record in taking a thumping $13.6m from 360 IMAX locations. Virtually half of the proceeds came from 3D screenings.
‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ opened in second place with $17.3m between Friday and Sunday, a good $2m below low end market predictions. It carries a huge $127m production budget and needs a push from a solid ‘B+’ CinemaScore.
It was better news for the weekend’s other wide opener, ‘Annie’. The Broadway adaptation arrived with $16.3m over the three days notwithstanding the hacked copy leak. This is slightly above analyst forecasts and, like ‘Five Armies’, it has the benefit of strong word of mouth from an ‘A- CinemaScore’.
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