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'Hobbit' Extends No. 1 journey With $36.7M

By David Germain, AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins is running circles around some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took in $36.7 million to remain No. 1 at the box office for the second-straight weekend, easily beating a rush of top-name holiday newcomers.

Part 1 of Jackson's prelude to his The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Warner Bros. release raised its domestic total to $149.9 million after 10 days. The film added $91 million overseas to bring its international total to $284 million and its worldwide haul to $434 million.

The Hobbit took a steep 57% drop from its domestic $84.6 million opening weekend, but business was soft in general as many people skipped movies in favor of last-minute Christmas preparations.

"The real winner this weekend might be holiday shopping," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

Tom Cruise's action thriller Jack Reacher debuted in second-place with a modest $15.6 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. Based on the Lee Child best-seller One Shot, the Paramount Pictures release stars Cruise as a lone-wolf ex-military investigator tracking a sniper conspiracy.

Opening at No. 3 with $12 million was Judd Apatow's marital comedy This Is 40, a Universal Pictures film featuring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprising their roles from the director's 2007 hit Knocked Up.

Paramount's road-trip romp The Guilt Trip, featuring Knocked Up star Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, debuted weakly at No. 6 with $5.4 million over the weekend and $7.4 million since it opened Wednesday. Playing in narrower release, Paramount's acrobatic fantasy Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away debuted at No. 11 with $2.1 million.

A 3-D version of Disney's (DIS) 2001 animated blockbuster Monsters, Inc. also had a modest start at No. 7 with $5 million over the weekend and $6.5 million since opening Wednesday.

Domestic business was off for the first time in nearly two months. Overall revenues totaled $112 million, down 12.6% from the same weekend last year, when Cruise's Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol debuted with $29.6 million, according to Hollywood.com.

Cruise's Jack Reacher opened at barely half the level as Ghost Protocol, but with a $60 million budget, the new flick cost about $100 million less to make.

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