Box Office: ‘Hobbit 3’ takes no. 1 back from ‘Unbroken’ on Friday

The Christmas holiday box office frame is officially more intriguing than anyone could have expected.  After “Unbroken” and “Into  the Woods” surprised to claim the top two spots on Christmas day, a certain Middle Earth franchise flexed its muscles on Friday.

Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” returned to the top spot for the ninth time in the past 10 days with $15.6 million and $142.7 million to date.  The Warner Bros. and MGM release should win the four-day frame, but it may be closer than anyone expected.

“Unbroken” dropped to no. 2 with $12.3 million and $27.8 million so far. Despite mixed to negative reviews the Angelina Jolie directed biopic is on track to earn over $45 million by Sunday.

“Into the Woods” barely missed out remaining in second place but made due with another $12.2 million and $27.2 million in just 48 hours.  Rob Marshall's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's  classic Broadway musical appears to be playing outside its hardcore fan base, but Saturday's take will truly tell the tale.

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” remained in fourth with another $7.4 million and $42.1 million in just 8 days.  Sony Pictures' “Annie” took fifth with $6.1 million and $35.34 million so far.

Seth Rogen and James Franco's controversial comedy “The Interview” dropped 30% from its opening day for another $725,000 on Friday. That equals just an OK $2,190 per screen average.  The film is available on many outlets online and its unclear if and when Sony Pictures will release how its done digitally over the holiday frame.

The Weinstein Company's “The Imitation Game” continued its fantastic run in just 747 theaters with another $2.8 million and $9.5 million to date.  

In limited release, “Selma” earned another impressive $211,000 or $11,105 in just 19 theaters for $533,000 so far.  Clint Eastwood's “American Sniper” appears headed toward one of the top limited debuts of all-time with $199,000 or $49,750 per screen in just four theaters.

Look for continuing box office updates throughout the holiday break on HitFix.