‘Hobbit’ Finale Blowing Past Projections After $10 Million Thursday at Box Office

Peter Jackson’s fantasy epic has taken in $34 million in two days, “Night at the Museum: Secret of Tomb” off to quick start

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” kept marching toward the box office high ground Thursday, adding nearly $10 million to easily swamp the competition and put a hammerlock on the weekend race almost before it’s begun.

The $9.9 million that the finale in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster Middle-earth trilogy took in upped its total to $34.4 million after two days. That virtually assures it will blow past the $75 million that analysts had projected, and will likely wind up north of $85 million for the five days for MGM and Warner Bros.’ New Line.

It’s also a positive sign for the overall box office, which some feared would be hurt by the terror threat from hackers prior to Sony pulling “The Interview.”

“Five Armies” will be in 3,875 theaters on Friday, including more than 300 IMAX locations. The weekend’s other wide opening movies – Fox’s comedy sequel “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” and Sony’s musical “Annie” – rolled out in early showing on Thursday night.

The third “Night at the Museum” sequel — arriving five years after the last one — brought in $491,000 from 2,531 locations. That’s a nice start for the film, which stars Ben Stiller and the late Robin Williams and primarily targets families, particularly since schools aren’t out for the holidays yet. It will be in 3,784 theaters on Friday.

Writer-director Will Gluck‘s PG-rated “Annie” targets families as well, and will be in 3,116 theaters. It was among five films leaked by the Sony hackers a few ago, though that’s not expected to take a huge toll since kids films aren’t typically a target for movie pirates.