Talk about a box office winner!
Loyal fans stayed up late and showed their support for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by attending midnight screenings across the United States.
According to box office estimates, Peter Jackson's latest flick earned an impressive $8.8 million in its 12 a.m. showings alone.
The total makes it the second-highest December showing ever. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey holds the top spot after earning more than $13 million through midnight showings in 2012.
The sequel is still expected to make $84 million, similar to the first movie's opening weekend. In addition, many critics insist the second film is even better than the first.
Thanks to Smaug, the fire-breathing creature voiced by Cumberbatch, movie gurus claim the film is "livelier" and features "the coolest movie dragon ever."
Other big movies in theatres this weekend include Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas and last week's No. 1 flick, Frozen.