The last of Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films rode to a third straight weekend atop box office charts, selling an estimated $21.9 million in tickets at U.S. and Canadian theatres.
Disney’s film version of the dark Broadway musical, Into The Woods, claimed the No. 2 spot with $19.1 million, while the World War Two drama, Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, finished third with $18.4 million for the Friday through Sunday period.
The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies grabbed another $9.3 million from New Year’s Day screenings for a four-day take through Sunday of $31.2 million. It has a domestic total of $220.8 million since its December 17 release, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.
The New Year’s first weekend numbers spelled some welcome news for film studios, with total ticket sales up to 8.4 per cent from 2014’s initial weekend.
The weekend’s sole new release horror film, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, opened in fourth place with $15.1 million, while another sequel, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, rounded out the top five with $14.5 million in ticket sales.
Unbroken, Jolie’s second directorial effort, tells the real life story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini’s two years’ experience as a prisoner of war in Japan.
Into The Woods, an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical that puts a spin on children’s fairy tales, stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Johnny Depp. It has grossed $91.2 million since opening on Christmas Day.
Among other year-end limited releases, the Clint Eastwood drama, American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper as a Navy Seal sharpshooter, took in $640,000 playing in only four theatres. It has earned a total of $2.2 million since its December 25 release. Cooper is considered a front-runner for a best actor Oscar nomination for the role.