The second chapter in Peter Jackson's second Tolkien trilogy, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," understandably took the top spot at the global box-office this weekend, albeit to somewhat quieter than expected results domestically.
'Smaug' opened to $73.6 million in the United States, down on the record-breaking $84.6 million scored by last year's first "Hobbit" film. Even so, it is just ahead of the previous trilogy's biggest opener "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" ($72.6M).
The drop-off is thought to be due to stronger competition, namely "Frozen" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," along with a major snow storm on the East Coast keeping people indoors.
Internationally the movie is doing big business, opening to the top spot in all 49 markets it opened in this weekend. The worldwide total is $205 million so far.
"Frozen" held well in its third week with a second place haul of $22.2 million, for a $164.4 million total. Worldwide it has made $266 million so far.
On the flipsde "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas" was the worst debut of a Madea film to date, this eighth film featuring Perry's sassy grandma character scoring a $16.2 million opening.
On the limited release front, "American Hustle" opened in six theaters to $690,000, a $115,000 per screen average. "Saving Mr. Banks" went a bit wider with 15 screens and a $421,000 haul for a $28,067 per screen average.