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The Hobbit hangs on at No. 1

By BLOOMBERG NEWS

This article was published December 28, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.

paul-rudd-and-leslie-mann-play-husband-and-wife-in-writerdirector-judd-apatows-this-is-40-the-film-came-in-third-at-last-weekends-box-office-and-made-about-12-million

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann play husband and wife in writer/director Judd Apatow’s This Is 40. The film came in third at last weekend’s box office and made about $12 million.

— The Hobbit, the first of director Peter Jackson’s three movies based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, was the topgrossing film at U.S. and Canadian theaters for a second weekend with about $37 million in sales.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey outdrew five new films opening in wide release, including the Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher and director Judd Apatow’s This Is 40, Hollywood.com said.

Hollywood studios are expected to take in a record $10.8 billion for the year, the estimate of Hollywood.com, propelled by films including The Hobbit, from Time Warner Inc.’s New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., and summer hits such as Walt Disney Co.’s The Avengers.

The weekend also saw limited releases of award contenders including Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow’s account of the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden. The film, featuring Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt, has taken in $639,000 since opening in five theaters on Dec. 19. The movie, from Columbia, is scheduled for wide release on Jan. 11.

The Impossible, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.’s tale about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, opened in 14 theaters with total ticket sales of about $139,000. Naomi Watts was nominated for a Golden Globe award for best actress for her role in the drama. Ewan McGregor also stars.

Jack Reacher collected $15.6 million in its debut for Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures to place second. Based on the character from novelist Lee Child, the film features Cruise as a former military police officer who conducts his own ruthless investigation into a mass shooting. In the process, he runs afoul of a villain played by German director Werner Herzog.

This Is 40 opened with sales of $12 million for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures to place third. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann pick up the story of Pete and Debbie, characters they played in Apatow’s 2007 film Knocked Up. Albert Brooks and Megan Fox co-star in the film.

The comedy The Guilt Trip opened in sixth place with about $5.4 million for Paramount. The film features Barbra Streisand as an overbearing mother who accompanies her son, played by Seth Rogen, on a 3,000-mile road trip. Yvonne Strahovski and Colin Hanks co-star.

Among returning films, Rise of the Guardians had sales of $5.9 million, placing fourth for the weekend. The film from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. pits storybook figures such as Santa Claus, Jack Frost and the Sandman against an evil force threatening children.

Walt Disney’s release of a 3-D version of Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. registered sales of about $4.8 million to finish seventh. The film took in $526 million worldwide in its original 2-D format in 2001, according to Box Office Mojo, another film researcher. The movie features the voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Bonnie Hunt. The sequel Monsters University is scheduled for June 2013.

Another new 3-D wide release was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, a picture from Paramount that collected $2.1 million to place 11th. The film follows two young people who are separated and must find one another after entering a dreamlike world.

MovieStyle, Pages 28 on 12/28/2012

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