LOS ANGELES -- Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.
Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros.' (TWX) Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million, besting last weekend's No. 1 film, Disney's (DIS) animated fable Frozen.
Melting down to the No. 2 position, Frozen earned $22.2 in its third weekend, bringing its impressive overall domestic ticket total to nearly $164.4 million.
Despite its first place position, Hobbit fell short of topping its prequel's debut. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened this same weekend last year, gained $84.6 million.
Hobbit rules this date and Warner Bros. has linked this brand to this time of year very effectively, said box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak (RENT).
We had an excellent weekend, said Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Of course, it could have been a little better, but the weather back East was really tough last night and probably took a couple million dollars out of my pocket. But our box office will survive. We are right on target to do very similar numbers to the last Hobbit, which grossed a $1 billion worldwide (overall).
Lionsgate's (LGF) holiday-themed Tyler Perry's a Madea Christmas came in third place with $16.2 million.
All of the Tyler Perry movies have done in that $20 million plus range, but the weather was a factor in some of the performances of these films, said Dergarabedian.
Another Lionsgate film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, earned $13.2 million for the fourth place slot. To date Catching Fire has grossed $739.9 million, surpassing the worldwide box office total for The Hunger Games, which brought in $691 million.