LOS ANGELES (AP) — Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.
Per studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros. "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 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.
"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 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.
Disney's super hero sequel, "Thor: The Dark World," continues to thrive as it remained in the top five with $2.7 million, bringing its domestic total to $198.1 million.
In its second weekend, Relativity Media's redemption drama "Out of the Furnace," starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, dropped to the sixth place position with $2.3 million after opening in the third place slot.