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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug takes $73.7 million in US debut

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Story by Jack Foley

PETER Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has topped the US box office with a massive $73.7 million.

In doing so, the sequel enjoyed the fourth biggest December opening ever, behind previous Hobbit movie An Unexpected Journey ($84.6 million), Will Smith’s I Am Legend ($77.2 million) and James Cameron’s Avatar ($77 million).

It opened just ahead of Jackson’s third Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King, which earned $72.6 million in its debut in December 2003.

The failure of Smaug to perform better than An Unexpected Journey despite being a sequel has been put down to the competition, which is particularly strong this year.

Disney’s Frozen is proving to be a massive family favourite, taking $22.2 million in its second weekend, for second spot, while The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is also going great (with $13.15 million for fourth spot).

There was also the issue of a major storm on the East Coast that kept some movie-goers at home.

Rounding out the US top five were Tyler Perry’s latest offering, A Madea Christmas, which underwhelmed with $16.16 million (for third spot), and Thor: The Dark World, which took $2.7 million in its sixth week.

Perry’s latest Madea film marks the worst debut for any Madea film to date, while Thor‘s continued good showing means the Marvel superhero tentpole has now taken $619.9 million.

Caching Fire, meanwhile, has now taken $739.9 million, surpassing the lifetime worldwide box office total for the first film, The Hunger Games ($691 million).

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