Dec 23 (Reuters) - The big-budget "Hobbit" fantasy movie
ruled movie box office charts for a second straight weekend,
fending off Hollywood heavyweight Tom Cruise in new crime drama
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hauled in nearly $37
million from theaters in the United States and Canada, according
to studio estimates of Friday-through-Sunday ticket sales. The
film is the first of three movies based on the classic J.R.R.
Tolkien novel about a world of dwarfs, elves and dragons in the
fictitious Middle Earth.
In second place, Cruise's "Jack Reacher" about the
investigation into a sniper shooting brought in just short of
$17 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters. Distributor Paramout
Pictures postponed a premiere of the film after the fatal school
shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, sparked new scrutiny of
Adult comedy "This is 40," starring Paul Rudd and Leslie
Mann as a middle-aged couple, brought in $12 million, finishing
in third place.
"The Hobbit" was distributed by Time Warner Inc's
Warner Bros. studio. Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc
, released "Jack Reacher." Comcast Corp's Universal
Pictures distributed "This is 40."