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'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' wins the box office weekend despite mixed reviews (+video)

'Armies' is the third and final film in the 'Hobbit' trilogy. The movies 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb' and 'Annie' also opened this weekend, also receiving mixed to poor reviews from critics.

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    The finale of Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies, marauded through the multiplexes during the weekend before Christmas, taking in $54.7 million.
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third and (presumably) final film in the “Hobbit” trilogy directed by “Lord of the Rings” helmer Peter Jackson, dominated the box office over the weekend after being released on Dec. 17.

According to Variety, the film grossed more than $90 million, starting Wednesday. Audience members apparently weren’t turned away by mixed reviews – the film currently holds a score of 59 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic. The score is better than the first “Hobbit” film, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which currently has a score of 58, but not as good as the score held by the second film, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” which has a score of 66. 

The “Hobbit” films are prequels to the critically acclaimed and high-grossing “Lord of the Rings” films. The “Hobbit” series follows “Lord of the Rings” protagonist Frodo Baggins’s uncle Bilbo, and tells the story of Bilbo’s first adventure. The films star “Fargo” actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” actor Ian McKellen as the wizard Gandalf, and Richard Armitage of “Robin Hood” as the dwarf Thorin.

Second place at the box office went to the movie “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” which is the newest entry in the franchise starring Ben Stiller. The film, featuring one of Robin Williams's final performances, as Theodore Roosevelt, and “Downton Abbey” actor Dan Stevens as the knight Lancelot, grossed more than $17 million over the weekend, according to the Associated Press. “Tomb” was not well received by critics and currently holds a score of 46 at the website Metacritic. 

The movie musical “Annie” opened in third place at the box office, grossing more than $16 million. “Annie” was also not well received by critics, with Monitor film critic Peter Rainer giving the movie a C+. He called the movie’s star Quvenzhané Wallis “radiantly charming” and wrote that “Jamie Foxx, in the Daddy Warbucks role, has a touching rapport with her," but that "otherwise the movie is indifferently directed and, for better or worse, numbers like ‘Tomorrow’ don’t exactly bring down the house. Considering this musical has its roots in Depression-era America, Gluck’s contemporary take on the material is eerily lacking in observations about the rich/poor divide in this country. Some original songs have rejiggered lyrics and new tunes have been added to the original score, none memorable.”

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