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‘Hobbit’ wins again at box office with ‘Django’ close behind

Cate Blanchett in ‘‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.’’

Warner Bros. Pictures

Cate Blanchett in ‘‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.’’

LOS ANGELES — ‘‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’’ continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third straight week and capping a record-setting $10.8 billion year in moviegoing. The Warner Bros. fantasy epic from director Peter Jackson made nearly $33 million this weekend, according to Sunday studio estimates, despite competition from some much-anticipated newcomers. It’s now made $222.7 million domestically alone.

Two big holiday movies — and potential Academy Award contenders — also had strong openings. Quentin Tarantino’s ‘‘Django Unchained’’ came in second place for the weekend with $30.7 million. The Weinstein Co. revenge comedy, starring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the Civil War South and Christoph Waltz as the bounty hunter who frees him and then makes him his partner, has earned $64 million since its Christmas Day opening. And in third place with $28 million was the sweeping, all-singing ‘‘Les Miserables,’’ based on the international musical sensation and the Victor Hugo novel of strife and uprising in 19th-century France. The Universal Pictures film, with a cast of A-list actors singing live on camera led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe, has made $67.5 million domestically and $116.2 worldwide since debuting on Christmas. Additionally, the smash-hit James Bond adventure ‘‘Skyfall’’ has now made $1 billion internationally to become the most successful film yet in the 50-year franchise, Sony Pictures announced Sunday. The film stars Daniel Craig for the third time as the iconic British superspy. ‘‘This is a great final weekend of the year,’’ said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.

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Dergarabedian described the holding power of ‘‘The Hobbit’’ in its third week as ‘‘just amazing. . . . I think it’s just a big epic that feels like a great way to end the moviegoing year. There’s momentum there with this movie.’’

Erik Lomis, The Weinstein Co.’s president of theatrical distribution, said the opening of ‘‘Django Unchained’’ exceeded the studio’s expectations. ‘‘We’re thrilled with it, clearly. We knew it was extremely competitive at Christmas, particularly when you look at the start ‘Les Miz’ got.’’

‘‘Les Miserables’’ went into its opening weekend with nearly $40 million in North American grosses, including $18.2 on Christmas Day. That’s the second-best opening ever on the holiday, following ‘‘Sherlock Holmes,’’ which made $24.9 million on Christmas 2009.

Dergarabedian pointed out that the hits came scattered throughout the year, not just during the summer blockbuster season or prestige-picture time at the end. ‘‘Contraband,’’ “Safe House,’’ and ‘‘The Vow’’ all performed well early on, but then when the big movies came, they were huge. ‘‘The Avengers’’ had the biggest opening ever with $207.4 million in May. The raunchy comedy ‘‘Ted’’ and comic-book behemoth ‘‘The Dark Knight Rises’’ both found enormous audiences. And Paul Thomas Anderson’s challenging drama ‘‘The Master’’ shattered records in September when it opened on five screens in New York and Los Angeles with $736,311, for a staggering per-screen average of $147,262. ‘‘We were able to get this record without scratching and clawing to a record,’’ he said. Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com.

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