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Warner Bros. Pictures
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million in its debut. | (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)

‘The Hobbit’ box office elite with $73.7 million


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.

Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros. “Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million, besting last weekend’s No. 1 film, Disney’s animated fable “Frozen.”

Melting down to the No. 2 position, “Frozen” earned $22.2 in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $164.4 million. Internationally, the Disney hit gained $31.5 million.

Despite its first place position, “The Desolation of Smaug” fell short of topping its prequel’s debut. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which opened this same weekend last year, gained $84.6 million. It earned $131.2 million in international sales.

“’Hobbit’ rules this date and Warner Bros. has linked this brand to this time of year very effectively,” said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak.

“We had an excellent weekend,” said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. “Of course, it could have been a little better, but the weather back East was really tough last night and probably took a couple million dollars out of my pocket. But our box office will survive. We are right on target to do very similar numbers to the last ‘Hobbit,’ which grossed a $1 billion worldwide (overall).”

Lionsgate’s holiday-themed “Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas” came in third place with $16.2 million.

“All of the Tyler Perry movies have done in that $20 million plus range, but the weather was a factor in some of the performances of these films,” said Dergarabedian.

Another Lionsgate film, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” earned $13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date “Catching Fire” has grossed $739.9 million.



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