Box Office: ‘The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies’ easily takes Friday for no. 1

As expected, “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” remained at no. 1 at the box office Friday, but it was a much closer clash for second place than expected. 

Peter Jackson's third and final installment of “The Hobbit” earned $16.5 million for $50.9 million in just 3 days.  The Warner Bros. and MGM production should hit $80 million by Sunday and continue to dominate the holiday frame.

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” came in second with $5.6 million.  Comparatively, the first “Night of the Museum” earned $12.1 million against significantly less potent competition in December, 2006.  The second chapter, “Battle of the Smithsonian,” took $15.5 million in May, 2009. Clearly, the 20th Century Fox release has its work cut out for it over the next few weeks if it is going to come anywhere close to those films blockbuster grosses.

Sony Pictures' “Annie” barely took third place with $5.3 million.  The Will Gluck directed modern day adaptation of the Broadway musical was a bomb with critics earning a rotten 28% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 39 score on Metacritic. Audiences didn't seem to care about the reviews giving it an A- Cinemascore. Considering how rough a month Sony has been having, they'll take it.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, pt. 1” sneaked into fourth with another $2.28 million and $283.7 million in the U.S. so far. 

“Exodus: Gods and Kings” took a big drop to no. 5 and earned another $2.27 million for $33.1 million in just eight days.  The Ridley Scott adventure is doing much better overseas with $54.7 million to date.

Look for complete weekend results Sunday on HitFix.