COMMENT | It's ben just over 24 hours since the Hobbit sequel 'Desolation of Smaug' was released in the UK, so that means it's time to look at the opening night figures to see how well the film is doing at the box office. Naturally these figures are a good indicator as to how well a film is going to do.
So, is director Peter Jackson's second Hobbit film on course to match the incredible $1 billion that 'An Unexpected Journey' has taken worldwide? Or is the tough competition surrounding it this year such as Disney movies 'Saving Mr Banks' and 'Frozen' as well as the 'Hunger Games' sequel 'Catching Fire'.
Well over in the US the film took $8.8 million in just the Thursday midnight shows alone. Which may seem like a staggering figure, but it pales in comparison to 'An Unexpected Journey' which wrapped up nearly $13 million from its midnight shows in the States. If you think that's insane, if you include all of Friday, which is the opening day the film has so far made $31.1 million and that's just in the United States alone, but again that is down on 'An Unexpected Journey' which had made around $6 million more.
Despite trailing domestically in the States, 'Desolation of Smaug' tickets are flying out of the ticket booths worldwide with a total of $53.4 million, which added to the US market means that Smaug has taken $84.5 million since its midnight showings on Thursday, through to Friday.
Those of you say there questioning why this film was split into three films now have your answer. Providing of course you're sure that it isn't genuinely because of Jackson's artistic integrity and that he needed three films to tell the whole story.
But Smaug isn't just vying to be a better film than 'An Unexpected Journey' in terms of box office success, but critically it's also desperately trying to make up for what many thought was a poor first 'Hobbit' film. I've seen it and I definitely think it's better and the critics seem to agree with me (they agree with me, not I with them.)
So how did Smaug do over here on the trusty shores of Yule Britannia you ask? Surely us Brits with her reserved polite manner and penchant for queuing haven't gone mental over the second 'Hobbit' film? Actually according the figures we did as 'Desolation' made $4.7 million over 1,495 screens which is a 39% ahead of what 'An Unexpected Journey' made here on its opening day.
So, the big question is will 'Desolation' match 'An Unexpected Journey's $1 billion total, or perhaps even beat it. Well, early signs seem to have both films at neck and neck, with the sequel 'Desolation of Smaug' doing worse in the US, but much better worldwide than it's predecessor. One thing is for certain though 'Desolation of Smaug' is a far superior film, even if it doesn't make as much money.
Daniel Wood is a long-time 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' fan after his dad read him both books as bedtime stories as a child. Of course back then he didn't understand a word he was hearing, so he's grateful they made films. Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter.
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