“The Hobbit” has gotten off to a healthy opening weekend, despite a lukewarm reception. Thursday’s midnight release brought the film $13 million out the gate, accompanied by $27 million from overseas releases. Peter Jackson’s winter epic is his first return to Middle Earth since 2003’s Return of The King, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. The Lord of the Rings prequel garnered high expectations from critics, and is the first major studio to implement new high frame rate technology. Early reviews have been generally favorable of the film, but haven’t quite lived up to the hype.
. It has everything you want from a J.R.R. Tolkien-based fantasy adventure and more. Too much more,” wrote Lisa Kennedy of the Denver Post. “All those fantastic digital effects and new ways of shooting and exhibiting the film in 3D as well as excessive battle sequences make this return to Middle-earth less exhilarating than exhausting.Jackson has not outdone himself so much as indulged himself.”
Rotten Tomatoes currently lists The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at a 66 percent critic approval rating, a far cry from The Return of The King’s 94 percent. An Unexpected Journey is the first film in a new Middle Earth trilogy, filmed in King’s native New Zealand. Fans of Tolkien and fantasy in general will no doubt be pleased with the release, but a decade later the magic has faded a bit.
Thursday’s opening failed to break into the top 1- highest grossing midnight releases, which is dominated by major fantasy franchises Harry Potter and Twilight. Still, “The Hobbit” will likely succeed financially, helped along by 3D and IMAX 3D ticket prices. The film has yet to pull in any award nominations, having been passed over by the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. With two movies coming down the pipeline, there’s still a chance that The Hobbit can prove just as classic as The Lord of the Rings.