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December 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Pundits are all over Middle Earth with predictions about how well The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will do at the box office this weekend. Virtually all of them are predicting a December record, but their estimates range from $75-90 million to $120-140 million. The movie, wrote the Los Angeles Times, which predicted the latter amount, “stands to collect more gold at the box office this weekend than the dragon Smaug is hoarding inside the Lonely Mountain.” The film opened on Wednesday in 16 countries, taking in $11.2 million on that day, including $4.3 million in France alone. Reviews have been decidedly mixed. Movie-review site, which aggregates reviews from a wide variety of sources, has been particularly generous in awarding the film “fresh” ratings from many critics who have criticized it harshly, particularly what they refer to as its “bloated” length of nearly three hours. Some observers have noted that because of its length, the number of times theaters can show it will be limited, thereby impacting ticket sales.

UPDATE: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earned $37.5 million on Friday, reported today (Saturday). That haul, the website said, puts it on track to earn a December record of $95-100 for the weekend.