The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Reaches $500 Million Worldwide

The Hobbit The Desolation Of SmaugThe Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

continues to roll through the holiday weekend, crossing $500 million at the global box office according to the latest estimates from Warner Bros.

That's according to Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke, who recently left the website and is expected to either take up with another site or strike out on her own with a new site altogether soon. For the time being, though, she's basically "reporting" on the industry via Twitter.

The Warner Bros.-distributed film, the second in The Hobbit trilogy, is expected to wrap its theatrical run with close to the $1 billion worldwide that its predecessor did. The third and final film in Jackson's epic adaptation of The Hobbit--titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again--is expected in theaters next winter.

A slower-than-expected start for the second Hobbit film had some analysts scratching their heads and others blaming franchise fatigue. 2013 was another year chock full of massive box office blockbusters based on familiar franchises, after all--and The Hobbit is now a three-film, nine-hour epic based on what is not a particularly long novel to begin with. Before he added enough new material to create a third movie, Jackson's five-part Middle Earth epic would have originally ended this month with the second part of The Hobbit.

The weekend's biggest new movie looks to be the Martin Scorcese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and former The Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal. Bernthal also stars in Grudge Match, the Sylvester Stallone/Robert DeNiro boxing dramedy that opened on Wednesday.  That film will likely round out the top ten for the weekend at the box office, although it will likely not rank in the top ten at all for the five-day weekend since Tyler Perry's latest Christmas movie is currently ahead of it so far for the week.