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December 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Five films debuted over the Christmas holiday, but not one was able to challenge The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which retained the lead for the third consecutive weekend with an estimated three-day total of $30 million and $49.4 million for the five days. What was able to mount a strong challenge to the Hobbit movie was Disney’s Frozen, the clear choice of family audiences in its sixth — repeat sixth — week. For a time it appeared that the animated feature would actually overtake Smaug at the box office, but it now appears that it will wind up with around $28.9 million for the three days and $44.2 million for the five. That brought its domestic total to $248.4 million. Coming in third was Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with $20.2 million/$36.1 million, nothing to pooh-pooh, but still below many analysts’ expectations, given its strong marketing campaign. In the battle of corporate-crooks movies, American Hustle appeared to have a slight edge over The Wolf of Wall Street, with the former film nailing $19.6/$33.8 million and the latter film $19/$35 million. Nevertheless, Wolf was the only one of the five new releases to finish in the top five. The weekend estimates seemed to indicate that the North American box office would set a new record, besting 2012’s $10.8 billion.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Rentrak:

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, $30 million; 2. Frozen, $28.9 million; 3. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, $20.2 million; 4. American Hustle, $19.6 million; 5. The Wolf of Wall Street, $19 million; 6. Saving Mr. Banks, $14.3 million; 7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, $13 million; 8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, $10.2 million; 9. 47 Ronin, $9.9 million; 10. Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas, $7.4 million.