Peter Jackson's latest epic didn't break any records, but it won the box office handily.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (read our review) takes the top spot easily with $73.7 million. The second film in the trilogy did extremely well during Thursday midnights, has held well throughout the weekend, and now holds the fourth best opening for December.
That being said, Desolation of Smaug's opening is slightly below its predecessor's $84.6 million, which suggests audiences weren't quite as eager to return to Middle-earth for a fifth time. Still, that first Hobbit film went on to gross over $1 billion worldwide, so a grand total slightly below that is not bad at all. And speaking of that international market, Desolation of Smaug is actually posting stronger numbers than its predecessor overseas, with $204 million thus far.
Frozen is the number 2 film with $22 million. Disney Animation's latest continues to dominate the winter season with strong holdover and word of mouth. The film is now at $164 million after three weeks in wide release.
In at number 3 is Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas with $16 million. While the Madea films typically do solid business, this holiday-themed release didn't quite click as well with audiences. Granted, most of the previous films opened in the very bare months of January and February, but the lower opening is still surprising nonetheless. We'll see if the film can hold throughout the Christmas holiday.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the number 4 film this weekend with $13.1 million. Like all big blockbusters, Catching Fire was bound to descend, but it does so having accrued $356 million in domestic theaters. Not to mention the film is the 5th highest grossing 2013 release on the global market with $729 million total.
Rounding out the top 5 is Thor: The Dark World, which added another $2.7 million to its domestic tally. Now at $198 million, the Marvel sequel is very close to the $200 million mark, but will likely have to wait at least a few more days to get there. On the worldwide front, Thor 2 has grossed $619 million.
The number 6 film is Out of the Furnace with $2.3 million. The Christian Bale drama received no love from the Golden Globe voters this week and was met with a similarly cold response from week 2 audiences. The film has grossed only $9 million after two weeks.
Delivery Man is the number 7 film with $1.8 million. The good news is this Vince Vaughn comedy has hung around in the top 10 for four weeks, but the bad news is it has only grossed $27 million during that span.
Coming in at number 8 is Philomena with $1.7 million. Perennial award nominee Judi Dench has been fueling this film to solid numbers in limited release, and Philomena is now at $11 million.
In at number 9 is The Book Thief with $1.67 million. Although the film's $14 million overall doesn't spell outright success, the film has held well in somewhat limited release.
Rounding out the top 10 is Homefront with $1.63 million. We wish there was better news for this Jason Statham vehicle, but unfortunately $18 million after three weeks is not good considering the talent involved.
Outside the top 10: David O. Russell's American Hustle opened with a very strong $115,000 per-screen-average on only 6 screens for a total of $690,000; and Saving Mr. Banks (read our review) also opened in limited release with $421,000 ($28,067 per screen).
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates - based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, December 16th - at which time we'll update this post with any changes.]
Source: Box Office Mojo