HOBBITS, dwarves and snowmen were among the most popular characters drawing crowds to the Bendigo Cinema on Boxing Day.
A queue of eager fans arrived at the cinema at 8am to secure tickets for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Lines stretched along Queen Street over the day as thousands turned out for the second instalment of the fantasy book adaptation.
Tracey Meade and Barbara Gunther, from St Arnaud, got in early to be among the crowd at the first screening.
"We weren't disappointed," Mrs Meade said.
"It was absolutely brillliant.
"I think it was better than the first one."
Mrs Gunther said it was a Boxing Day tradition for the old friends to go the movies together.
"I loved it," she said.
"It didn't really feel like it was two and a half hours."
Bendigo Cinemas manager Greg O'Connell said an estimated 2000 people had already filed in to buy tickets to see Bilbo Baggins' latest adventure.
"It's just the day for it, it's our biggest day of the year," he said.
The new Disney movie Frozen about a snowman named Olaf proved popular with families.
Legendary newsreader Ron Burgundy was another drawcard as Anchorman 2 attracted a large following.
"That's done really well," Mr O'Connell said. "It's probably been bigger than the first Anchorman movie."
Mr O'Connell said The Hobbit looked likely to exceed ticket sales of the first film, released on the same day last year.
He said the overall quality of new releases and their broad appeal had helped build interest for cinema-goers.
"It's going to be a good holidays this year, I think," he said.
Jock and Jodie McNeill from Golden Square said they were impressed with the Hobbit.
"It was really good," Mr McNeill said.
"The dragon was incredible. We can't wait to see the final one next year."