Box Office Top Five: The Hobbit Roams Back to the Top, Madea Returns

New Line Cinema The Hobbit

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, $73.7 million (opening weekend)

Snow pummeled half of the U.S. this weekend, but that clearly only amped everybody up more when it came to seeing Benedict Cumbersmaug in action. Desolation came out slightly behind The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s $84.6 million and is the fourth-highest December debut of all time, behind I Am Legend and Avatar. It seems like the ferocious holiday competition might keep Smaug from topping An Unexpected Journey’s $303 million, but we won’t know for sure for at least another month.

2. Frozen, $22.2 million (last week: no. 1; $164.4 million cumulative)

Not much of a dip from last week’s $31.6 million. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frozen hovering in the top five through the New Year, unless the kiddies are rushing to see The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. (In real life, though, Justin Bieber’s Believe, coming Christmas Day, may grab some of Frozen’s potential holiday audience.)

3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, $16 million (opening weekend)

Madea’s losing her chokehold over civilization, people! Tyler Perry’s eighth movie in the franchise is the first Christmas release and the third-lowest debut of all. That said, there is the not-small fact that A Madea Christmas played on 2,200 screens while The Hobbit had nearly 4,000 and Catching Fire and Frozen played on screens numbering in the mid-3,000s. So, loosened chokehold or no, you should probably expect another eight A Madea Something Somethings.

4. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, $13.15 million (last week: no. 2; $357 million cumulative)

Katniss is closing in on $750 million worldwide, which passes her original outing’s $691 million. At this point, I’m excited to see the final two films in 2014 and 2015, but I’m equally excited to see if they continue growing in popularity each time. Seems so likely the world will move on, doesn’t it? Or are we really dealing with another Potter?

5. Thor: The Dark World, $2.7 million (last week: no. 4; $198.1 million)

This li’l hammer-throwin’ fella has stuck in the top five for six whole weeks, enabling him, like our aforementioned bow-slinging heroine from District 12, to surpass his previous domestic gross by nearly $20 million. Worldwide, it’s no contest: Thor earned $449.3 million; Thor: The Dark World stands at $620 million.

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