Moviegoers won't be able to see "The Interview" this holiday season, but they will have lots of Middle Earth on their hands.  Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" opened on Wednesday and is expected to dominate the box office for the rest of the year.

The last installment of the "Hobbit" trilogy brought in $24.5 million on over 3,800 screens on its first day. That's down from the $31.1 million the previous chapter, "The Desolation of Smaug," earned last year and the $37.1 million "An Unexpected Journey" found in 2012. That being said, both those films opened on a Friday.  Comparatively, the "Hobbit's" total actually makes it the third best December Wednesday debut ever behind "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." 

"Battle of the Five Armies" will face competition on Friday when Sony Pictures' "Annie" and 20th Century Fox's "Night at the Museum 3." The former, which has been available illegally online since the Sony Hack, is expected to only do $20 million for the weekend. The latter should take the bulk of family audiences with a $40+ million bow.  The "Hobbit" should earn over $100 million for the five-day frame.  It's already taken in $146.6 million overseas.

Look for continuing box office updates all weekend long and throughout the holidays on HitFix.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.