I was reluctant to see the 'Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' when it was released! To my mind, I felt Peter Jackson the director was going to take us for a ride when personally, I felt nothing could top 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy.
So during my visit to Calabar last weekend, 'The Hobbit" part 1 was on Movie Magic and boy was I blown, smitten and humbled all at once. Watching my favorite characters, Gandalf, Gollum/Sméagol, Galadriel and of course Bilbo Baggins reminded me why I never read the book but preferred the movie instead (covering face)...
The storyline was impeccable, I especially loved the way more light was shed on some of the scenes from the trilogy, like "why do the dwarfs disperse the elves" and "how did Bilbo gain possession of the ring in the first place."
Now while the Unexpected Journey did remarkably well at the box-office, 'Desolation of Smaug' is gaining ground this season and just might surpass 'An Unexpected Journey.'
Fueled by foreign fans, “The Hobbit": The Desolation of Smaug” has crossed the $500 million mark in worldwide grosses. “Smaug,” co-produced by New Line and MGM, hit the milestone in two weeks after its day-and-date launch in nearly all markets.
Peter Jackson’s tentpole has been leading the U.S. market ever since with grosses crossing the $160 million mark as of Thursday, when it took in over $10 million in its 14th day. Internationally, “Smaug” has eclipsed $340 million in 57 markets, led by strong U.K. grosses that have been on a par with “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” ‘Smaug” opened in Australia on Boxing Day on Thursday with $4.9 million.
The actual total was $504 million — $160.5 million domestically and $343.5 million internationally with Warner Bros. domestic distribution topper Dan Fellman predicting a strong run for several more weeks. “Peter Jackson has delivered the perfect holiday treat for moviegoers,” he said. “We anticipate that the film will continue to have terrific playability well into the new year as more people join in the adventure or return to experience it again and again.”
The impressive foreign box office for “Smaug” mirrors that of the first “Hobbit” film, which took in over 70% of its coin internationally with $714 million to go along with a U.S. cume of $303 million. “An Unexpected Journey” is the 16th highest worldwide and one of only 17 films to crack the $1 billion worldwide mark.
By Dave McNary-http://variety.com/2013/film/news/the-hobbit-desolation-of-smaug-tops-500-million-worldwide-1201003097/