- "The Hobbit" earned an estimated $13 million from midnight showings
- Included in "The Hobbit's" midnight figure is $1.6 million from IMAX theaters
- It's predicted to earn $110 million this weekend, when it will have increased family appeal
Warner Bros. has just announced that "The Hobbit" earned an estimated $13 million from midnight showings at 3,100 locations last night, giving it a per-theater average of $4,193 from midnight shows alone.
It's a nice recovery from the doldrums of the past two frames. When combined, the last two wide releases to hit theaters, "Playing for Keeps" and "Killing Them Softly," couldn't earn $13 million over their entire opening weekends.
Included in "The Hobbit's" midnight figure is $1.6 million earned from 326 IMAX theaters.
Yesterday, I predicted a $110 million weekend for "The Hobbit," which would make it the fifth-highest opening of 2012 behind the debuts of "The Avengers" ($207.4 million), "The Dark Knight Rises" ($160.9 million), "The Hunger Games" ($152.5 million), and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" ($141.1 million).
For reference, here's how each of those films did at midnight:
"The Avengers" -- $18.7 million
"The Hunger Games" -- $19.7 million
"The Dark Knight Rises" -- $30.6 million
"Breaking Dawn -- Part 2" -- $30.4 million
Despite the comparatively low midnight gross, I'm expecting "The Hobbit" to hold up substantially better than all those films over the full weekend thanks to its increased family appeal (parents aren't taking youngsters to see a three-hour movie at midnight).
Encouragingly, "The Hobbit" played substantially better than other effects-driven December releases like "Avatar," which started with $3.5 million at midnight on the way to a $77 million weekend in 2009, and "I Am Legend," which started with $1.7 million on the way to $77.2 million in 2007 — the current December opening weekend record.
Granted, midnight showings weren't nearly as popular even three years ago as they are now, but "The Hobbit" will still easily crush those grosses.