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The Hobbit, Frozen and Anchorman 2 lead festive bonanza at US box office

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Story by Jack Foley

THE Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Disney’s Frozen and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues have led a box office bonanza in the US over Christmas.

The three holdovers beat out competition from six new films opening nationwide on Christmas Day, including three that look set to bomb.

They also held off strong challenges from awards contenders American Hustle and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, both of which performed well.

The Christmas boom looks set to also enable the US box office to complete a record breaking year in terms of revenue generation. With just two days left to go, box office takings are expected to match 2012’s record $10.8 billion on Sunday, putting the final tally for the year in the $10.9 billion range – and that’s despite several high profile summer blockbuster flops.

The overall Christmas winner was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which held onto its top spot for a third weekend with $29.9 million, pushing its US total to $190.3 million.

But Disney’s Frozen wasn’t far behind with $28.8 million, marking the second best showing of all time for a film in its sixth weekend after Avatar ($34.9 million). It has now earned $248.3 million in the US to become Disney’s most successful title domestically after The Lion King.

Anchorman 2 came third with $20.2 million in its second weekend to bring its US total to $83.7 million, just shy of the $85.3 million earned all in by the first film.

Thereafter, fourth spot was occupied by David O Russell’s American Hustle, which took $19.6 million, while The Wolf of Wall Street came in fifth with $18.5 million, putting its five-day debut at a strong $34.3 million.

Lower down the chart, Disney’s Saving Mr Banks grossed $14 million in its second weekend to place sixth, just ahead of Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which came seventh with $13 million. Mitty, which cost $91 million to make, has now taken $25.6 million since Christmas Day.

The biggest bomb of Christmas, and one of the biggest flops of the year, was Samurai epic 47 Ronin, starring Keanu Reeves, which placed ninth with $9.9 million over the weekend. The film has only taken $20.6 million since Christmas Day despite costing $175 million to make.

Also flopping hard were the Sylvester Stallone-Robert De Niro comedy Grudge Match, which missed out on a top 10 placing with $7.3 million, while Justin Bieber documentary Believe fared even worse, coming in 14th with an estimated $2 million.

Next story: 47 Ronin staring at worst debut for $150 million-plus movie in 2013