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Hobbit Tops Box Office With $190 Million

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Over the bustling post-Christmas holiday weekend, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continued to lead the box office, as it landed in the No. 1 slot for the third weekend in a row. The Warner Bros. (TWX) prequel earned $30 million, bringing the domestic gross to $190.3 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Disney's (DIS) animated adventure, Frozen, took the No. 2 position, earning $28.9 million over the weekend and $248.4 million domestically after six weeks at the multiplex.

"Frozen probably had the best release date of the year because they positioned themselves to completely dominate the family film marketplace over the holidays," said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak (RENT). "To be No. 2 in its sixth week is a total reflection of that."

Reigning box-office champion Hobbit, "really contributed to this record box office that we have at the end of the year," added Dergarabedian. "With Hobbit and Frozen we are talking $450 million at the box office between those two films alone. They are absolutely killing it here at the end of the year."

2013 is poised to be a banner year at the box office and it is projected to surpass 2012's $10.8 million by nearly 1%, making this the highest annual take ever.

Paramount held two slots in the top five over the weekend, with the comedies Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, starring Will Farrell, and The Wolf of Wall Street, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Sequel Anchorman 2 came in at No. 3 with $20.2 million and Martin Scorsese's dark comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street, rounded out the list at No. 5 earning $19 million after opening at No. 2 on Christmas day with $9.15 million.

"Some people are calling the performance of Anchorman a bit of a disappointment, but it will be a $100 million gross at the end of the day," said Dergarabedian. "All of the marketing certainly raised its profile. It will have a good showing."

Anchorman met the studios expectations over the Christmas holiday. "We are thrilled and we feel the movie will play well in theaters for a while," said Don Harris, president of distribution at Paramount. "The first film brought in $84 million and this one will be well north of that."

At nearly three hours long, Wolf does not have as many showings in a day as the rest of the pictures currently in theaters, yet it's holding its own at the multiplex. "The movie is very much out there in terms of content and that's a good thing," added Harris. "It's different than anything else in the marketplace. I think people are surprised that it's a lot of fun."

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