Box Office: 'Hobbit' Battles Toward $80 Million, 'Annie' Prospects Upbeat Friday

'Annie'

Sony's musical could beat its expected $15 million tally

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies continues to do strong business at the box office Friday, on its way to easily topping the domestic box office.

The final installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy should earn another $15 million Friday, adding to its current domestic total of $34.4 million. (The film opened Wednesday.) While tracking originally had the film earning around $75 million in its debut, the New Line and MGM film is now on track to earn closer to $80 million for its five days, as it seems fans are turning out in strong numbers for their last visit to Middle-earth.

Also doing stronger-than-expected business this weekend is Sony's remake Annie. Friday business during the day has been strong, partly due to schoolchildren trekking to theaters to see the family film starring Quvenzhane Wallis. It's a rare bit of good news for Sony, which is still reeling from the devastating hacks and blowback from pulling The Interview from theaters.

Annie is on track to earn around $7 million Friday, although business may slow into the evening since it is mainly a kid-friendly film. If the film continues to attract families during the day over the weekend, it could surpass its expected $15 million tally to be closer to $20 million. But tracking on children's films is often unreliable. It earned $360,000 from 2,400 screens Thursday night.

Fox's Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, directed by Shawn Levy, is estimated to earn between $6.5 million and $7.5 million Friday. The family film starring Ben Stiller is the third in the museum-exhibits-come-to-life franchise and will likely earn in the mid to high $20 million range in its debut. The PG film earned $491,000 from 2,531 locations in late-night shows Thursday.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian opened in May 2009 to a four-day debut of $70 million over Memorial Day weekend. (It earned $54.2 million in the traditional three-day window.) It went on to earn $413.1 million worldwide. The first Night at the Museum film debuted to $30.4 million when it opened in December 2006 on its way to a worldwide tally of $574.8 million.

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