‘The Hobbit’ tops ‘Anchorman’ sequel at weekend box office

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Caption: Richard Armitage and dwarves float to a box office win in “The Hobbit.”
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The dwarves and hobbits of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” proved too much for the much-publicized sequel “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” as the hit fantasy film topped movie charts in the United States and Canada for a second straight week, earning $31.5 million over the weekend.

Kicking off Hollywood’s year-end push of high-profile movie releases, the “Anchorman” crew led by Will Ferrell was unable to dethrone last week’s winner and took in $26.8 million for the No. 2 spot, according to sales estimates from Rentrak.

Oscar-contending crime drama “American Hustle” grabbed the No. 4 slot, racking up $19.1 million, just behind Disney’s animated hit, “Frozen” which took in $19.2 million.

“Anchorman” opened on Wednesday following a months-long marketing onslaught and rang up a five-day total of $40 million through Sunday. Ferrell appeared in character seemingly everywhere as the self-important Ron Burgundy, pitching the Dodge Durango in TV ads, interviewing Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for ESPN The Magazine and co-anchoring a local newscast in Nebraska.

The campaign reintroduced Burgundy a decade after the original “Anchorman” in 2004. The first film took in a solid $90 million at worldwide box offices and gained popularity on DVD to become a cult classic.

In the sequel, the former San Diego anchor joins a cable news channel startup in 1980s New York. Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner return as members of his wacky news team.

Box office forecasters predicted “Anchorman 2″ would bring in $35 million to $40 million from Friday through Sunday. The movie cost $50 million to make.

“Forty million over five days is a sensational start,” said Don Harris, president of domestic theatrical distribution for Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc unit that released the film, adding that was in line with studio expectations.

Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co said the sequel was “already creating newsworthy grosses abroad, debuting with $13.4 million in just six territories. That tally crushes the miniscule lifetime cumulative of the original” of just $5 million.

Bock said the strong global results would “possibly pave the way” for a third Anchorman film.

The performance of “Anchorman” and other holiday releases will decide if Hollywood reaches a ticket sales record this year. Through Sunday, total grosses for 2013 has risen 0.8 percent from a year earlier to nearly $10.37 billion, according to Rentrak. The record for total box office sales was $10.77 billion, set in 2012.

On Christmas Day on Wednesday, studios release five films including Leonardo DiCaprio drama “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Ben Stiller comedy “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

This weekend, the 3D “Hobbit” sequel brought its worldwide total to $404 million, distributor Warner Bros. said. The second installment follows hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a band of dwarves on a quest that leads to a clash with dragon Smaug.

“American Hustle” expanded nationwide after a limited opening and stellar reviews for its ensemble cast of Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie, produced by Sony Corp’s movie studio for $40 million, is loosely based on a real-life 1970s bribery scandal that led to the conviction of seven members of the U.S. Congress and several local and federal officials.

Walt Disney Co’s animated musical “Frozen” features the voice of Kristen Bell as a Scandinavian princess in a story inspired by “The Snow Queen” fairy tale.

Another Disney film, the critically praised live-action drama “Saving Mr. Banks,” finished in fifth place during its first weekend of nationwide release, taking in $9.3 million.

The $35 million production tells the story of how Walt Disney brought children’s book “Mary Poppins” to the big screen, with Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers, who resisted the movie idea for two decades.

Animated “Walking with Dinosaurs” managed only No. 8 with $7.3 million at domestic theaters. The $80 million movie distributed by 20th Century Fox tells the story of an underdog dinosaur who becomes a hero.

The No. 9 spot was grabbed by a surprisingly strong start from Indian film “Dhoom 3,” which opened in only 236 locations and took in $3.3 million to become the biggest U.S. opening of a Bollywood film.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

South Korea ferry disaster: captain's actions 'tantamount to…

The captain and some crew members of the sunken South Korean passenger ferry Sewol have been accused of 'murderous acts' by their own president, after…

News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.