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"The Hobbit" Enjoys Record $84 Million Debut

New Line Cinema/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures(NEW YORK) -- The Hobbit made an expected trip to number one at the box office over the weekend.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened in first place, earning an estimated $84.8 million.  That's a record debut for a December release, surpassing the $77.2 million raised by the Will Smith movie I Am Legend during its opening weekend in 2007.

The total also represents the most successful debut of any film in the Lord of the Rings franchise.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of three prequels from Peter Jackson, and is screening in 3D.

Last week's box office champ, Skyfall, fell all the way to fourth place, with $7 million.

Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated ticket sales:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, $84.8 million
2. Rise of the Guardians, $7.4 million
3. Lincoln, $7.2 million
4. Skyfall, $7 million
5. Life of Pi, $5.4 million
6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2, $5.2 million
7. Wreck-It Ralph, $3.3 million
8. Playing for Keeps, $3.2 million
9. Red Dawn, $2.4 million
10. Silver Linings Playbook, $2 million

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio