NEW YORK — In its second weekend at the box office, the Disney animated tale “Frozen” finally cooled off “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” while the week’s lone new wide-release, “Out of the Furnace,” wasn’t a match for either blockbuster.
According to studio estimates Sunday, “Frozen” led the multiplexes with a haul of $31.6 million over the weekend, taking over the top spot from “Catching Fire.”
[IMAGE: This image released by Disney shows, from left, Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad, and Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen." (AP Photo/Disney)]
Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” sequel had topped the box office for the last two weeks, but slid to second with $27 million in its third week of release.
Relativity Media’s steel-town drama “Out of the Furnace,” starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck, posed no challenge for the bigger blockbuster holdovers.
It opened with $5.3 million, good enough for third place on what’s typically a quiet early December weekend, sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the coming holiday season releases.
But it was an excellent weekend for Hollywood, with the box office up 16.9 percent over the same weekend last year. Opening in a limited release of four theaters, the Coen brothers’ folk tale “Inside Llewyn Davis” also had one of the year’s highest per-theater averages of $100,500 for CBS Films.
With only a handful of moviegoing weeks left in the year, the strong weekend boosts the year’s chances of exceeding 2012’s record box office. This year may surpass last year’s $10.8 billion domestic box office, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the box-office tracker Rentrak.
“We’re running just slightly ahead of last year’s record pace,” said Dergarabedian. “It’s going to be really close.”
Dergarabedian expects next week’s big release, Warner Bros.’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” to open in the neighborhood of Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit” film, “An Unexpected Journey,” which debuted with $84.6 million last year.
This weekend’s new releases were minimal since “The Hobbit” is expected to dominate the marketplace next weekend.
Estimated ticket sales below are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
1. "Frozen,” $31.6 million ($30.6 million international)
2. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” $27 million ($44.3 million international)
3. "Out of the Furnace,” $5.3 million
4. "Thor: The Dark World,” $4.7 million ($5.4 million international)
5. "Delivery Man,” $3.8 million
6. "Homefront,” $3.4 million ($1.5 million international)
7. "The Book Thief,” $2.7 million
8. "The Best Man Holiday,” $2.7 million
9. "Philomena,” $2.3 million
10. "Dallas Buyers Club,” $1.5 million