Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth begins with a flourish as the opening day in his native land breaks records.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grossed approximately $643,000 (NZ$782,695) on Wednesday (12) for the biggest non-holiday, Wednesday debut of all time.

New Line and MGM’s fantasy adventure launches on approximately 17,000 screens in 55 territories this weekend.

Several major markets including Australia, China and Russia, will not open this weekend.

IMAX Corporation announced that the film is being digitally remastered into IMAX 3D and will screen in multiples international markets and North American sites.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the ideal story and visual spectacle to be experienced in IMAX 3D,” said of IMAX Filmed Entertainment chairman and president Greg Foster.

“Our mantra is to support the vision of trailblazers like Peter Jackson and we’re pleased that select IMAX theatres will also be playing the film with our high frame rate system – an exciting new way for moviegoers to experience this highly anticipated trilogy.”