(Cover) - EN Movies - Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debuted at number one at the US box office this weekend.

The Lord of the Rings 3D prequel, starring Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan, raked in $84.8 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The tally marks a new record for the biggest domestic opening in December, breaking the previous record of $77.2 million set by Will Smith's action film I Am Legend in 2007.

The first in a new trilogy, The Hobbit is an adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 children's book, which follows hobbit Bilbo Baggins as hunts a legendary treasure guarded by a dragon.

Elsewhere at the box office this weekend, animated adventure Rise of the Guardians came in second with $7.4 million. The Peter Ramsey film features voiceovers from Jude Law, Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin and now boasts a four-week domestic total of $71.4 million.

Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President of the United States, raked in $7.2 million in its six week for third place.

The latest installment of the James Bond franchise, Skyfall, slipped from first to fourth this week with $7 million in earnings. The film, starring Daniel Craig as 007, boasts a six-week domestic total of nearly $272.4 million.

Life of Pi held on to fifth place with $5.4 million this weekend.

The Ang Lee film, starring Suraj Sharma, tells the story of a young man who forms an unexpected connection with a fearsome Bengal tiger.