"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" scored big at the box office this weekend. The film, which is one of three films that will serve as a prequel series to the "Lord of the Rings" franchise, earned an estimated $84.8 million over the weekend, according to The Associated Press.
The haul also set a record for the biggest December opening for a film. The record was previously held by "I Am Legend" with Will Smith, which opened with $77.2 million in 2007.
"The Hobbit" films feature Martin Freeman the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo Baggins from "Lord of the Rings." The first installment in the trilogy, "The Unexpected Journey," sees Bilbo embark on a dangerous journey across Middle Earth with the help of Gandalf and a large group of dwarves to find treasure guarded by a dragon, Smaug.
"The Hobbit" also earned $138.2 million internationally and its worldwide total now stands at $223 million.
In a distant second place was the CGI animated film "Rise of the Guardian," which earned an estimated $7.4 million. The film's cumulative total after four weeks at the box office is $71.4 million.
"Lincoln" landed in third place with $7.2 million and the film crossed the $100 million mark domestically. The biopic featuring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president of the United States has earned $107.9 million in six weeks.
"Skyfall," the latest film in the James Bond franchise, earned fourth place for the weekend with $7 million. The film is close to netting a $1 billion worldwide total after six weeks at the box office. Its cumulative total now stands at $951 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
The Ang Lee-directed film "Life of Pi" rounds out the top five films at the box office with $5.4 million. The film, which is an adaptation of a novel by the same name, has grossed $69 million at the box office since its release on November 21.
Watch the trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" below.