"The Hobbit" keeps box office crown for third week

Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:18pm EST
 

By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

(Reuters) - The dwarfs and elves of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" prevailed at the North American box office again over the weekend, as its $32.9 million in ticket sales topped both the star-packed musical "Les Miserables" and the western "Django Unchained."

Despite surging past "The Hobbit" on Christmas day with an $18.1 million opening, "Les Miz" managed only third place in U.S. and Canadian sales with $28 million as Christmas shoppers returned from the malls to boost Hollywood's box office, according to studio estimates.

"The Hobbit," in its third week of release, has now grossed $222.7 million domestically, Warner Bros said.

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," a western starring Jamie Fox as a slave turned bounty hunter, took second with an impressive $30.7 million.

Tom Cruise's crime drama "Jack Reacher," which features author Lee Child's former military investigator solving a fatal sniper attack, landed in fifth with $14 million, outpaced by "Parental Guidance," the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler as grandparents comedy which took in $14.8 million to nab fourth.

Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for Fox, said the "Parental Guidance" performance was "just a tremendous result for our little engine that could."

Backed by a musical score that made it a Broadway icon, "Les Miz" surged past "The Hobbit" on Christmas day, collecting $18.1 million to pass "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" with the biggest midweek opening day by a musical.

But it was not enough to conquer the "Hobbit" juggernaut, which scored its third straight box office weekend win.   Continued...

 
New Zealand director Peter Jackson (C) and cast members Richard Armitage (L), Martin Freeman (2nd L), Elijah Wood (2nd R) and Andy Serkis attend the Japan premiere of their movie 'The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey' in Tokyo December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Issei Kato