Bilbo Baggins is under a lot of pressure. Not only does he have to free a dwarf kingdom, but MGM is counting on him to pave the way for its IPO.
After filing a preliminary filing with the SEC this summer, MGM held off on plans to go public. The studio waited, hoping that strong performances from James Bond '007: Skyfall,' co-produced with Sony, and the first film in the Hobbit trilogy.
Entertainment industry economist Harold Vogel says he expects MGM to file for an IPO in March or April, between the flood of revenue from 'Skyfall' and 'The Hobbit.'
(Read More: Live Like Bilbo in a Rental Hobbit House)
Despite mediocre reviews, the 3-D "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," is expected to set a record for the biggest opening ever, with $80 million at the U.S. box office.
Midnight showings at 3,100 theaters brought in $13 million, $1.6 million at Imax theaters. With no other major film opening this weekend 'Hobbit' will face little competition, and will benefit from the fact that it's in 3-D as those tickets cost as much as $3 more than a regular movie.