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‘The Hobbit’ is golden at weekend box office

A scene from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.' . Handout

LOS ANGELES – Undaunted hobbits trumped princess power at the multiplex.

Per studio estimates Sunday, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was No. 1 at the weekend box office with $73.7 million, besting last weekend’s No. 1 film, 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.

READ MORE: Box office hits and misses of 2013

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.

Holiday-themed Tyler Perry’s a Madea Christmas came in third place with $16.2 million.

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.

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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.

Delivery Man, with Vince Vaughn as the lead, dropped in at No. 7 in its fourth weekend at the box office with $1.9 million, bringing its domestic total to $28 million.

Philomena starring Judi Dench, who received a best-actress Golden Globe Awards nomination for her performance as a nun in search of her son, landed in the No. 8 spot at the weekend box office with $1.8 million.

In its sixth weekend at the box office, the Nazi Germany-set The Book Thief, starring Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse, held the ninth position with $1.7 million.

Coming in at No. 10 was the Jason Statham and James Franco-starring crime thriller Homefront, which gained $1.6 million in its third weekend. Its total domestic gross is now $18.4 million.

Opening in limited release in just six locations, David O. Russell’s con artist tale, American Hustle, scored $690,000 over the weekend. This aces the success of his Oscar-winning film Silver Linings Playbook, which saw $27,687 during its opening weekend in December of 2012. American Hustle, featuring stellar performances by Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, has been nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild nominations.

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