Well, it's finally here, and so far the treasure gathered by The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is enough to make Smaug the dragon envious. Warner Bros. reports that the first film in Peter Jackson's next Tolkien trilogy raked in an estimated $13.0 million at the box office from Friday midnight debut screenings. Nothing too unexpected about that, given the success of Jackson's last journey to Middle-earth.
The overnight haul is not enough to break any records or even put the movie in the top 10 highest midnight-debut earners--those slots are mostly filled by Harry Potter, Twilight, and superhero movies. But it's still pretty darn impressive and shows that the film is off to a very good start.
After all, the audience for midnight shows is somewhat limited. You aren't going to find most casual moviegoers, or their kids, staying up until the wee hours to catch the wee hobbit and dwarves do their thing for almost three hours. It's a good bet that most of the people in the theaters Friday night were part of Jackson's built-in fan base from his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.
No doubt those families who couldn't stay up late on a school night will flood the theaters this weekend, over which The Hobbit is projected to pull in something like $100 million, and that's just in the U.S. Not bad for a bunch of pint-sized adventurers.