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Weekend Box Office: Smaug Tops Anchorman 2 - Mr. Banks Disappoints

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By Chris Kavan - 12/23/13 at 12:38 AM CT

It was another great weekend for Hollywood - with the top 12 movies taking in $137.3 million - the box office was up 37% compared to the same frame last year. Barring some catastrophic terrible movie openings next week, it is all but assured that 2013 with top the $10.84 billion set last year and become the highest-earning year on record. While none of the movies could top The Avengers - there were enough films that did above average to make a difference. And some of the movies below are certainly a contributing factor.

1) THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Although the Channel 9 news team put up a valiant fight, it was dwarves, wizards, a dragon and a hobbit with a nice ring who once again topped the box office. At $31.45 million, The Hobbit Part 2 dropped 57.3% - pretty much the exact same drop as the original Hobbit, though its $127.5 million total is running about 15% behind the original through the same point. Even if it doesn't reach quite match the original, it should have no problem topping $200 million - and it should continue to play well over the holiday season.

2) ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

Despite a heavy marketing campaign and some major buzz, Ron Burgundy and crew were only able to must up a $26.8 million weekend ($40 million when factoring in the early Wednesday opening). That total was one the lower end of the scale, as totals in the $50 million range were being bandied about early on. Also of note was that the second film opened lower than the original Anchorman ($28.4 million) though that film opened in July as opposed to December. The film played to a mostly male (62%) audience and was awarded a somewhat disappointing "B" Cinemascore average. December films tend to play better over the long run, however, so a total north of $100 million - and maybe closer to $125, can be expected. I have to say it was a bit of a letdown for me (and the people I watched it with), but if word of mouth is decent, it could do better than I would expect as well.

3) FROZEN

Dropping one spot from last week, Disney's Frozen continued to be the family movie of choice, bringing in a cool $19.16 million and dropping just over 15%. That's another excellent hold - and now stands at $191.55 million - putting it ahead of Wreck-It Ralph ($189.4 million) and hot on the heels of Tangled ($200.8 million), which it should pass by Christmas. As it stands, Frozen should be able to close near the $300 million mark by the time it finishes its run.

4) AMERICAN HUSTLE

After having a scorching debut in limited release, David O. Russell's American Hustle had a nice $19.1 million wide-release opening. It has a $20.2 million total and beat The Fighter ($12.1 million) in terms of opening numbers. Even though it will face a lot of competition in the coming weeks, it is pretty much a given the much lauded film will close over the $100 million mark. Getting plenty of awards attention should help matters out in that department.

5) SAVING MR. BANKS

On the other hand, Saving Mr. Banks also had an expansion this weekend, but only managed a meager $9.32 million. That was less than Charlie Wilson's War ($9.7 million), another Tom Hanks-led film (back in 2007). As a saving grace the mostly female (57%) and older (61% over 35) did award the movie an "A" Cinemascore. With good world of mouth, the movie could approach around $70 million - but it won't be able to pass the $100 million mark.

Outside the top five: The week's other new wide release, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, as predicted, didn't challenge Frozen for the family crowd, earning just $7.3 million in 8th place. Meanwhile in just 236 theaters Dhoom 3 set a new record for a Bollywood film by opening in 9th place with $3.3 million, topping the $2.2 million opening of Chennai Express. In milestone news, Thor: The Dark World brought in $1.32 million in 10th place, and managed to cross the $200 million mark, topping out at $200.76 million

With the extra-long Christmas weekend coming, there is an onslaught of new films including The Wolf of Wall Street, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 47 Ronin, Grudge Match, August: Osage County and Justin Bieber's Believe. And hopefully a new overall box office year-to-year total to go along with them.

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