Box office: 'The Hobbit' scores a record December opening

the-hobbit-opening-weekend-record.jpgMoviegoers returned to Middle Earth in a big way over the weekend, pushing the first installment of "The Hobbit" to a record opening for a December movie.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" made an estimated $84.8 million in its opening three days, breaking the previous December mark of $77.2 million held by 2007's "I Am Legend."

Peter Jackson's movie also made more than any of his three "Lord of the Rings" films did in their first weekends. "LOTR: The Return of the King" opened the strongest of the three with $72.6 million in 2003.

No other movie gave "The Hobbit" much competition. "Rise of the Guardians" ($7.4 million) beat out "Lincoln" ($7.2 million) for second place, with "Skyfall" right behind with an estimated $7 million.

The weekend's Top 10 movies:

1. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $84.8 million
2. "Rise of the Guardians," $7.4 million
3. "Lincoln," $7.2 million
4. "Skyfall," $7 million
5. "Life of Pi," $5.4 million
6. "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2," $5.2 million
7. "Wreck-It Ralph," $3.3 million
8. "Playing for Keeps," $3.25 million
9. "Red Dawn," $2.4 million
10. "Silver Linings Playbook," $2.1 million
Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros./MGM