Originally posted on Variety:
Bilbo Baggins is playing powerfully outside the United States in the early opening stages of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
The second Hobbit film has hit $53.4 million internationally, including $29.3 million on Friday from 15,950 screens in 49 markets. The Friday number was 5% ahead of the first Friday for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and its Wednesday-Thursday grosses were up by 11% over “Journey.”
Worldwide, “Smaug” has totaled $84.5 million through Friday.
“An Unexpected Journey” delivered slightly over $1 billion worldwide — $303 million domestically and another $714 million internationally — so the early numbers indicate the New Line-MGM release may be able to match that. First-day U.S. results for “Smaug” came in at $31.1 million, signaling an opening weekend in the $75 million range, or about 12% behind the first weekend for “Journey.”
“Smaug” opened Friday in the U.K. with $4.7 million at 1,495…
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