Box Office: 'Frozen' Soars to No. 1 Ahead of 'Hobbit 2'
Disney's runaway family hit Frozen continues to thaw hearts more than a month into its run, edging past The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Friday to take the No. 1 spot at the crowded holiday box office.
Frozen took in $10.3 million for an expected three-day weekend north of $28 million -- the second best showing of all time for a film in its sixth weekend after Avatar ($34.9 million) and besting current record-holder Titanic ($25.2 million).
The animated tentpole has now earned a dazzling $229.8 million in North America, pointing to the immense staying power a family film can enjoy. It also underscores a dearth of family product (Walking With Dinosaurs was the only new family offering of the Christmas season, but it quickly became extinct).
Warner Bros.' Desolation of Smaug, earning $10.1 million on Friday, is tipped to win the weekend overall with $30 million, although the race could stay close with Frozen. Smaug, crossing the $500 million mark worldwide on Thursday, has earned a total of $170.6 million domestically.
Staying firmly at No. 3 is Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman: The Legend Continues. The Paramount pic grossed $7.1 on Friday for a projected weekend in the $21 million range. By Sunday, the sequel will have all but eclipsed the $85 million earned by the first film.
The three all-audience films continue to beat out a crowded crop of Christmas offerings vying for adults and awards attention. Martin Scorsese's R-rated, sex-laced The Wolf of Wall Street, one of six films opening nationwide on Dec. 25, is finding itself in a close race with David O. Russell's holdover American Hustle, now in is second weekend of nationwide play.
American Hustle narrowly beat Wolf of Wall Street ($6.4 million versus $6.3 million) on Friday. The two films, coming in No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, should remain neck and neck throughout the weekend, with American Hustle being given a slight edge with a projected $20 million to $21 million weekend. That would put the film's domestic total at $60 million-plus through its second weekend.
Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Wall Street bad boy Jordan Belfort, is now projected to gross $19 million to $20 million for the weekend, pushing its five-day debut to a respectable $34 million-plus.
Paramount is releasing and marketing Wolf of Wall Street, which barely received an R rating (Scorsese agreed to trim certain sex scenes in order to avoid getting slapped with an NC-17). The big question is whether the movie, expected to do especially well on both coasts, will play in America's heartland (the film's C CinemaScore could be an indication of the split). Boasting a running time of two hours and 59 minutes, Wolf marks Scorsese's longest film by a minute, topping Casino.
Among other award contenders, 20th Century Fox's Christmas Day entry The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, is likewise finding itself in a close race with Disney's holdover Saving Mr. Banks. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, Banks appears to be narrowly winning out, grossing $4.7 million on Friday, compared to $4.5 million for Mitty. The pair of films came in No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.
Saving Mr. Banks is poised to gross north of $28 million in its second weekend of nationwide play, pushing its domestic total to just north of $38 million. Mitty, costing $91 million to make, is projected to take in $13.5 million for a respectable five-day debut of $26 million (Christmas films don't generally sport huge openings, but instead enjoy unusually strong multiples).
Universal's ill-fated 47 Ronin continued to struggle on Friday, coming in No 8 with $3.4 million. The Keanu Reeves samurai epic, which is likely to lose $175 million for Universal and co-financing partner Elliott, may only earn $10 million for the weekend for a five-day debut of $21 million, far from enough considering its price.