Beginning last night, stateside audiences are now able to take in Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth finale film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It seems that audiences are aware of the finality that this film represents as well, since Variety reports that the swan song for The Hobbit trilogy and perhaps the whole Lord of the Rings film franchise is set to take in over $75 million between last night and this coming Sunday.
While the number is a bit lower than the expected opening totals for the first two Hobbit films (An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug), this year’s overall box office has seen a dip of around 5%, so the slightly lower figure is likely not due to franchise fatigue as might be believed for an annualized trilogy. Still, if the number holds true, then Battle of the Five Armies could end up with a more impressive opening weekend than last year’s film, which took in $73.6 million during the period of December 13th-15th, 2013. Still, though, Desolation opened on a Friday while Battle is opening wide on a Wednesday, giving it a couple of extra days in its opening stretch and perhaps accounting for a stronger number if that indeed happens.
If international numbers are any indication, then Battle should perform exceedingly well. As of this past Sunday, it has already grossed $122.2 million from just over 15,000 screens across 37 separate theatrical markets. Both prior films in this trilogy did the lions’ share of their respective earnings overseas, with the $1 billion-grossing Unexpected Journey doing over $700 million from overseas markets alone. Desolation of Smaug, which grossed $958 million worldwide, also took $700 million of its total from overseas markets.
The critical reaction to The Battle of the Five Armies has been generally positive, but currently sits at 59% at Rotten Tomatoes. Of the three Hobbit films, Battle seems to be the one least liked by critics, with last year’s Desolation of Smaug garnering the highest critical reception of the three films with a 74% rating. Unlike the financial side of things, though, The Hobbit films cannot touch the original Lord of the Rings trilogy on the critical side, with all three of those films sitting between 91-96%.
For more on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, be sure to keep an eye on GeekNation. It’s in theaters now.
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