The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey tracked down an estimated $37.5 million Friday, its studio reported, the biggest opening day ever for a December release.
The Hobbit marks Jackson's return to J.R.R. Tolkien. The biggest opening day for one of his Lord of the Rings movies was The Return of the King's $34.5 million.
The new film had been projected to be on track for a Friday-Sunday, opening weekend in the neighborhood of $100 million.