Los Angeles (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Peter Jackson`s latest fantasy epic "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," buoyed by a buzzing holiday season and an excellent word of mouth, was able to remain atop the North America weekend box office for the third consecutive weekend and fended off an onslaught from a trio of new releases during the course.

The Jackson directed 3-D fantasy movie has grossed an estimated 32.9 million U.S. dollars in tickets sales over the weekend, enough to extend its No. 1 placing into the third weekend in exhibition, according to distributor Warner Bros. It is on track for a 222.7 million dollar gross during 17 days of business.

"Django Unchained," a Quentin Tarantino written and directed R- rated western, finished in a close second with an estimated 30.7 million dollar weekend, according to distributor The Weinstein Co. Opening in 3,010 locations on Christmas Day, the slave saga appealed mainly to female moviegoers, as they made up 46 percent of the weekend audiences.

Those who saw it assigned an "A-" CinemaScore to it, which bode well for the future business. The film stars big names of Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio and follows a freed slave who treks across America to rescue his wife from a cruel and charismatic plantation owner. It has garnered 64 million dollars over six days in exhibition.

Universal`s star-studded musical "Les Miserables" placed in third with an estimated 28 million dollar receipt during the Friday-Sunday period. Directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway,the highly-anticipated musical also debuted on Christmas Day in 2,814 venues in the United States and Canada and drew droves of women which make up as many as 67 percent of weekend audiences.

It earned a very encouraging "A" rating on CinemaScore, and Universal executives are confident that the film will do a good business owing to its star power and continued awards season buzz.

Finishing in fourth place is another Christmas Day opener " Parental Guidance" which is estimated to roll up 14.8 million dollars. The PG-rated family comedy, starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, has grossed a six-day total of 29.6 million dollars.

The 20th Century Fox release won an "A-" rating on CinemaScore, which is an encouraging sign that foretells its holding power.

The final weekend of 2012 saw a revenue of 10.8 billion U.S. dollars, which is a record high, and a 6 percent increase in attendance over last year.

Rounding out the 10 most popular films in North America this weekend were "Jack Reacher" (USD14 million), "This Is 40" (USD13.2 million), "Lincoln" (USD7.5 million), "The Guilt Trip" (USD6.7 million), "Monsters Inc. 3-D" (USD6.7 million), and "Rise Of The Guardians" (USD4.9 million).

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012