Los Angeles (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Peter Jackson turns out to have a wider moviegoer-pleasing appeal than Tom Cruise and Judd Apatow, as his middle-earth epic "The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey" continued its hold of No. 1 ranking over the weekend, beating out the pair`s debuts with ease.

The latest fantasy from the "The Lord of the Rings" director will roll up 36.7 million U.S. dollars in ticket sales during Friday-Sunday period, distributor Warners Bros. predicted, which represented a 57 percent sharp drop from the last weekend when it stormed the North America box office with 84.8 million dollars in ticket receipt. The movie also saw an expansion of total number of venues screening the fantasy, as 4,100 venues in the United States and Canada were tallied.

The film, a prequel to the blockbuster "Lord of the Rings" franchise and the first of a trio which launched Jackson`s new 3-D project, is on track for a nearly 150 million dollar gross since it opened in North America 10 days ago. It has raked in more than 350 million dollars worldwide.

Premiering in second place is "Jack Reacher," a crime film starring Tom Cruise which fetched an estimated 15.6 million dollars in sales from 3,352 locations, a performance well in line with pre-release expectations.

The Paramount adaptation of Lee Child`s 2005 best-selling novel "One Shot" mainly appeals to older filmgoers, as 76 percent of those who have seen it was over 25 years old and 60 percent male. They assigned the Tom Cruise vehicle, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, an "A-" CinemaScore rating. The movie, which has a 60 million dollar budget, features Cruise as a former army military police officer who investigates a case.

The film also roped in 2.5 million dollars from 7 markets worldwide.

Trailing "Jack Reacher" in the third place is "This Is 40," an R-rated comedy from writer and director Judd Apatow, which is projected to bag 12 million dollars from 2,913 venues. Women made up 57 of the comedy`s audience, who liked the comedy film and gave it a "B-" CinemaScore rating.

Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend were "Rise of The Guardians" (USD 5.9 million), "Lincoln" (USD 5.6 million), "The Guilt Trip" (premiering at USD 5.4 million) , "Monsters, Inc. 3D" (premiering at USD 5 million), "Skyfall" ( USD 4.7 million), "Life of Pi" (USD 3.8 million), and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" (USD 2.6 million).

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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