(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped theaters for the third consecutive weekend, doing $32.9 million, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The first in a trilogy of Lord of the Rings prequels, Hobbit has done $222.7 million since its release Dec. 14.
The weekend also saw a robust battle of the sexes as the musical Les Miserables opened against Quentin Tarantino's graphic spaghetti western Django Unchained on Christmas Day.
If estimates hold Monday, the weekend battle will go to Django, though both movies gained significant momentum in the hunt for Oscar nominations Jan. 10.
Django corralled $30.7 million, bringing its five-day total to $64 million.
Les Miserables, which was dominated by female audiences, did $28 million over the weekend and $67.5 million since Christmas.
The movies are in position for strong runs through the New Year's Day holiday, as both earned strong reviews from critics and fans.
Django scored a thumbs-up from 89% of critics, says survey site Rottentomatoes.com. Fans were more impressed, as 93% said they liked the film, starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Les Miserables, meanwhile, earned recommendations from 72% of critics, while 86% were singing the praises of the musical, starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
Despite tough reviews - only 17% of critics liked it - the Billy Crystal comedy Parental Guidance scored above projections, taking in $14.8 million for the weekend and $29.6 million over five days.
The Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher rounded out the top 5, taking in $14 million and lifting its gross to $44.7 million since its release Dec. 28.
weekend ended Hollywood's tumultuous year on an up note. Despite months nearly devoid of a hit, the industry saw sales hit a record $10.8 billion in 2012, according to Hollywood.com. The figure represents a 6% increase in revenues and a 5% uptick in attendance over 2011, the site says.
(Copyright © 2012 USA TODAY)