Receiving an A CinemaScore from audiences, the Peter Jackson adaptation debuted in 4,045 theaters and the studio expects the film to earn $85 million for the weekend, also a record for the month. I Am Legend, which opened the same weekend in 2007, holds the record with $77.2 million. The Will Smith-starrer previously held the record for best Friday in December with $30.1 million.
Overseas, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earned $27.3 million its first two days in theaters. The film started its international release on Wednesday.
Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis and many, many more star in first film of three.