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OTRC: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' tops holiday box office with $36.7 million

Martin Freeman appears in a scene from 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' in 2012. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" scored big at the box office for the second week in a row, earning an impressive $36.7 million over the holiday 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 $10.2 million for an eight-day domestic cume of $123.3 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The haul from the film's opening weekend, which was $84.8 million, 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.

In second place for the holiday weekend was Tom Cruise's action film "Jack Reacher," which earned $5.1 million and is anticipating a $15.4 million weekend, according to the magazine.

The film, which is based on the popular children's book series by Lee Child, follows a homicide investigator, played by Cruise, who digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. It was the film's opening weekend.

In a distant third place was Judd Apatow's comedy film "This is 40," which has been dubbed the sort-of-sequel to "Knocked Up." The R-rated movie, which opened on December 21, earned an estimated $13 million. The film stars Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd reprising their popular characters Debbie and Pete, and follows the couple through the trials and tribulations of marriage.

Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen's mother-son comedy "The Guilt Trip" wasn't as popular in the box office, earning only $1.5 million on Friday for a three-day cume of $3.5 million. The movie is expected to gross $5 million at the weekend's conclusion, making the $40 million film a disappointment, according to the magazine.

Watch the trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" below.

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