'The Hobbit' breaks December box office record: Can it keep it up?

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Reviews might be mixed over "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," but one thing's for sure: Audiences are happy about returning to Middle-Earth. Released almost a decade after "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" hit theaters, the first movie in "The Hobbit" trilogy has had the best December debut of all time by making $84.8 million in its first three days of release.

It helps that "The Hobbit" was released in 3D, in IMAX, in IMAX 3D and in a special 48 frames-per-second format. Those higher ticket prices helped boost the film's income, as around 49 percent of the film's box office total came from its 3D showings.But can it keep that up? It remains to be seen if "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" will go on to make as much money as its predecessors in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Those each grossed more than $300 million when they came out in the early '00s, and they didn't need the help of 3D.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" will be facing some pretty stiff competition in the coming weeks. This week, Judd Apatow's sort-of sequel to "Knocked Up," "This Is 40," will hit theaters and try for a similar audience as "The Hobbit." Even if "The Hobbit" continues to make the big bucks this weekend, it's facing the double whammy of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" and Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" on Christmas day. 

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" could keep the title of biggest opening in December, but it might not be the most successful film to come out during the holiday season. Which the movie you've been most excited about seeing?

Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros., New Line
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