Nothing could separate The Hobbit from its precious perch atop the box office this weekend, though two Oscar hopefuls made valiant attempts.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped theaters for the third consecutive weekend with $32.9 million, according to studio estimates from Hollywood.com.
The first in a trilogy of Lord of the Rings prequels, Hobbit has taken in $222.7 million since its release Dec. 14.
The weekend also saw a robust battle of the sexes as the musical Les Misérables opened against Quentin Tarantino's graphic spaghetti Western Django Unchained on Christmas Day.
If estimates hold Monday, the weekend showdown will go to Django, though both movies gained significant momentum in the hunt for Oscar nominations Jan. 10.
Django corralled $30.7 million, which brought its five-day total to $64 million. Les Misérables, which was dominated by female audiences, took in $28 million for the weekend and $67.5 million since Christmas.
Themovies are in position for strong runs through the New Year's Dayholiday; both have earned strong reviews from critics and fans.
Djangoscored a thumbs-up from 89% of critics, according to the movie surveysite Rottentomatoes.com. Fans were more impressed: 94% said they likedthe film, starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Les Misérables,meanwhile, earned recommendations from 72% of critics, and 85% ofmoviegoers were singing the praises of the musical, starring HughJackman and Anne Hathaway.
Despite tough reviews - only 17% of critics liked it - the Billy Crystal comedy Parental Guidance scored above projections. It took in $14.8 million for the weekend and $29.6 million over five days.
The Tom Cruise thriller Jack Reacher rounded out the top five with $14 million and lifted its gross to $44.7 million since its release Dec. 21.
Theweekend ended Hollywood's tumultuous year on an up note. Despite monthsnearly devoid of a hit, the industry saw sales hit a record $10.8billion in 2012, according to Hollywood.com. The figure represents a 6%increase in revenue and a 5% increase in attendance over 2011, the sitesays.