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‘Hobbit’ claims third consecutive box office crown

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK — “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the special-effects-laden tale that pits dwarfs against a dragon, blasted to its third consecutive box office title, collecting $29.9 million over the post-Christmas weekend to beat newcomers “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Walt Disney’s animated film “Frozen” was second with ticket sales of $28.8 million in its third week, ahead of Will Ferrell’s quirky comedy “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” that collected $20.2 million at domestic theaters.

“American Hustle,” which reunited director David O. Russell with his “Silver Linings Playbook” stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, was fourth with $19.6 million in ticket sales at theaters in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates. Sony, the distributor of “American Hustle,” also said it had grossed $3 billion worldwide as of this weekend.

Director Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” was fifth with $18.5 million after finishing a close second to “The Hobbit” on Christmas Day, according to estimates compiled by Rentrak. The nearly three hour movie received good reviews but registered only a “C” rating from CinemaScore, a site that measures audience reaction.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second of three movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, has collected more than $190 million in ticket sales since its December 13 release, according to Rentrak. Its worldwide sales total more than $614 million, according to distributor Warner Brothers.

“47 Ronin, the Keanu Reeves samurai adventure film that Universal Pictures made for $175 million, opened with $9.9 million in ticket sales. That was on par with the industry’s $17 million to $20 million projections for total ticket sales of $20.6 million since its Christmas Day release.