The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies scores Peter Jackson his biggest UK Tolkien opener

The third Hobbit instalment topped the box office with takings of nearly £9.8m

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Peter Jackson’s third and final Hobbit movie, The Battle of the Five Armies, has stormed the UK and Ireland box office in its opening weekend.

The Middle Earth epic, based on JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel, grossed £9.76 million to take the number one spot and surpass the debuts for preceding films An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug.

It also beat the openings for Jackson’s Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 

“This is the film audiences across the UK have been waiting for and truly an event for all moviegoers and Hobbit fans,” said Josh Berger, president of Warner Bros.

“We congratulate Peter Jackson, his iconic cast and behind-the-scenes team for delivering such an epic and satisfying conclusion to this incredible 13-year cinematic journey to Middle Earth.”

Martin Freeman returns to the lead role of hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Battle of the Five Armies, starring alongside Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Evangeline Lilly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom.

Christopher Lee also reprises his part as Lord Saruman, after releasing a heavy metal Christmas song at the age of 92 last week.

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Jackson has confirmed that he is unlikely to adapt Tolkien for the big screen again due to legal reasons.

“The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late Sixties, the film rights,” the New Zealand filmmaker said.

“But they are the only two works of his that have been sold. So without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can’t be more films.”

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