Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema debuted The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theaters at 10 PM and midnight showings last night, earning $8.8 million from these early screenings, $1.25 million of which came from IMAX 3D screenings.
The figure is the second highest midnight gross in December, behind its predecessor The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which earned $13 million from early screenings last year. The sequel's take is 32% less than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's midnight haul, although analysts expect The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug to equal the the first movie's $84 million opening weekend earnings.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has also earned $8.5 million from its Wednesday opening in nine international territories, such as France ($2.8 million) and Sweden ($1.7 million). Warner Bros. also reported that the sequel took in $15.23 million on Thursday, for a two-day tally of $23.7 million, which is 11% higher than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's two-day international opening. Germany's opening day on Thursday was the biggest opening of the year, earning $3.4 million on 1,462 screens, with a 75% market share. Mexico also opened yesterday with $909,000 on 2,555 screens and 58% market share, while New Zealand posted a massive debut of $575,000 at 251 screens, with an 87% market share.
Check back on Sunday to see how The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug fared in its three-day opening weekend.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released December 13th, 2013 and stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter. The film is directed by Peter Jackson.