Box Office: 'The Hobbit' Tops Friday, 'The Interview' Cools Off

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Still 5 - H 2014
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Still 5 - H 2014

Peter Jackson's fantasy claimed the top spot Friday, ahead of 'Into the Woods' and 'Unbroken,' as Sony's hot-button movie lost some of its heat

While The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies rose back to the top of the box-office rankings Friday, The Interview lost some of its box-office steam.

As the holiday moviegoing developed on the day after Christmas, early estimates for the day saw Peter Jackson’s fantasy from Warner Bros., which ranked third on Christmas Day behind Universal’s Unbroken and Disney’s Into the Woods, finish in first place with a Friday gross of about $15 million, setting itself up to collect about $40 million over Friday to Sunday, retaining the box office crown for the second weekend in a row.

But while The Hobbit saw its grosses grow by about 5 percent from Thursday to Friday and Unbroken and Into the Woods, which were ranked one and two on Christmas Day, both dipped by around 20 percent, Sony’s The Interview saw its box office traffic drop by around 35 to 45 percent.

Read more 'The Interview': Which Theaters Are Showing the Film on Christmas Day

The Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy attracted flag-waving moviegoers on Christmas Day, collecting $1 million in 331 theaters. Some of that fervor, though, cooled on Friday, when the movie — which is also available as a pay-per-view offering on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox and Sony’s own site — took in an estimated $575,000 to $650,000. It now appears headed to collect about $1.5 million for the three days and a total of about $2.6 million to $2.7 million for its four days.

Meanwhile, the musical Woods and the war drama Unbroken are in a tight race for the weekend’s second slot. Unbroken, which bowed to $15.6 million on Christmas Day, and Woods, which opened to $15.1 million, both picked up about $12 million each on Friday, with Unbroken looking as if it enjoyed the stronger day. However, the family-friendly Woods is expected to pull slightly ahead of Unbroken on Saturday, and could end the weekend in second place. Woods is on a trajectory for a four-day total in the high $40 million range, with Unbroken right on its heels.