Last night, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the finale to his second J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy adaptation, opened across the country, and it’s being reported that the finale took in an estimated $11.2 million in its Tuesday night previews. This likely included special presentations of all three movies in IMAX theaters.
Last year’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug grossed $8.8 million in Thursday previews which contributed to its $31.1 million opening day and $73.7 million opening weekend. That was down from the previous installment, which grossed $13 million in Thursday previews without the aid of showing all three movies, and grossed $84.6 million in its domestic opening weekend. It would go onto gross $303 million domestic and over a billion worldwide.
The early week opening could lessen how much The Battle of the Five Armies does in its opening day since it’s in the middle of the work and school week, but it’s thought that the movie could gross over $30 million in its first two days and another $60 million or more over the weekend.
By comparison, the final installment of Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King opened on the same day in 2003 without the benefits of Tuesday night previews or higher prices for IMAX and 3D and grossed $34.4 million its opening day and $124.1 million in its first five days. That went on to gross $377 million domestically and $1.1 billion globally.