Los Angeles: The latest installment of the Tolkien epic series, 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,' claimed the top spot at the North American box office this weekend, industry estimates showed today.
The second part of The Hobbit film trilogy, starring Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman on a quest to reclaim the hobbit homeland earned a commanding USD 73.7 million in its opening weekend, according to box office tracker Exhibitor
The series, directed by Peter Jackson, follow on the heels of his mega-successful trilogy adapted from JRR Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings.'
In distant second, with a still hefty USD 22.2 million in ticket sales, was Disney animated musical 'Frozen.'
The 53rd movie in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, which began with 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' in 1937, 'Frozen' is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale 'The Snow Queen.'
Another new release opened in third place: 'A Madea Christmas,' directed by and starring Tyler Perry in his recurring role as Madea, chronicles yet another adventure in the life of the tough, old woman. It earned USD 16.2 million in its debut weekend.
That pushed the latest installment of the blockbuster 'Hunger Games' franchise into fourth place with USD 13.2 million, taking its overall earnings since its record opening four weeks ago to USD 357 million in North America alone.
'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' stars Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a teenager forced into a deadly battle for survival in the macabre post-apocalyptic kingdom of Panem.
Lagging well behind in fifth place was superhero flick 'Thor: The Dark World,' the latest movie based on Marvel's iconic comic book character, which took in USD 2.7 million.