Tom Cruise plays a former military cop investigating a sniper case. Just turned 50 years old and out with his latest action flick, "Jack Reacher," Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Karen Ballard, File)
1. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” $36.7 million
2. “Jack Reacher,” $15.6 million
3. “This Is 40,” $12 million
4. “Rise of the Guardians,” $5.9 million
5. “Lincoln,” $5.6 million
6. “The Guilt Trip,” $5.4 million
7. “Monsters, Inc.” in 3-D, $5 million
8. “Skyfall,” $4.7 million
9. “Life of Pi,” $3.8 million
10. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” $2.6 million
Tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins is running circles around some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” took in $36.7 million to remain No. 1 at the box office for the second-straight weekend, easily beating a rush of top-name holiday newcomers.
Part one of Jackson’s prelude to the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, the Warner Bros. release raised its domestic total to $149.9 million after 10 days. “The Hobbit” took a steep 57 percent drop from its domestic $84.6 million opening weekend, but business was soft in general as many people skipped movies in favor of last-minute Christmas preparations.
“The real winner this weekend might be holiday shopping,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
Tom Cruise’s action thriller “Jack Reacher” debuted in second-place with a modest $15.6 million debut. Based on the Lee Child best-seller “One Shot,” the Paramount Pictures release stars Cruise as a lone-wolf ex-military investigator tracking a sniper conspiracy.
Opening at No. 3 with $12 million was Judd Apatow’s marital comedy “This Is 40,” a Universal Pictures film featuring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprising their roles from the director’s 2007 hit “Knocked Up.”
Paramount’s road-trip romp “The Guilt Trip,” featuring “Knocked Up” star Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, debuted weakly at No. 6 with $5.4 million over the weekend and $7.4 million since it opened Wednesday.
Starting on Christmas, Hollywood expects a big week of movie-going with schools out through New Year’s Day and many adults taking time off. So Paramount and other studios are counting on strong business for films that started slowly this weekend.
In limited release, Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden manhunt saga “Zero Dark Thirty” played to packed houses with $410,000 in just five theaters, averaging a huge $82,000 a cinema.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com.