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Disney’s Frozen easily lorded over New Year’s Day, taking in $8.7 million for a North American total of $271.8 million and putting it on course to soon become the No. 4 animated title of all time at the domestic box office for partners Disney and Pixar, not accounting for inflation. The Thanksgiving release, showing remarkable staying power, should best the $293 million earned by Up sometime over the weekend or next week.
The top animated North American title in their stable is Toy Story 3 ($415 million), followed by Finding Nemo ($339.7 million) and The Lion King ($312.9 million).
Coming in No. 2 on Wednesday was Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, earning $7.8 million for total domestic receipts of $209.3 million.
The two event pics, along with a crowded slate of Christmas films, have helped to ring out a record year for Hollywood. For the first time ever, domestic box-office revenue hit $10.9 billion, up roughly 1 percent from the record $10.8 billion earned in 2012 — that despite a number of pricey misses.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Martin Scorsese‘s controversial The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as debauched Wall Street broker Jordan Belfort, moved up to No. 3, grossing $5.7 million for an eight-day gross of $47.1 million (Wolf, from Paramount and Red Granite Pictures, was one of six films launching nationwide on the holiday).
Wolf has found itself in a close race over the holidays with fellow awards darling American Hustle, which, like Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, opened nationwide the weekend before Christmas. Directed by David O. Russell, the Sony and Annapurna Pictures film took in $5.4 million for a North American total of $73 million.
Paramount’s Will Ferrell crowd-pleaser Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues came in No. 5 on New Year’s Day, grossing $4.8 million for a domestic total of $95.4 million — $10 million more than the first film earned in its entire lifetime domestically.
Savings Mr. Banks and 20th Century Fox’s Christmas Day entry The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, are likewise in a close race as they look to up their awards profiles. Banks narrowly beat out Mitty on New Year’s Day, grossing $4.2 million for a domestic total of $48.3 million. Mitty took in $4.1 million for an eight-day total of $35.7 million.
All of these movies have the potential to rack up significant grosses through the weekend, since many people are still in holiday mode. The only new nationwide entry on Friday is Paramount’s spinoff Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, set in a Hispanic neighborhood. Box-office observers expect Desolation of Smaug and Frozen to vie for No. 1, with Marked Ones competing against Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle for the next few spots on the box-office chart.
There’s little hope for the three bombs that were among the titles launching on Christmas Day: Universal’s Keanu Reeves samurai epic 47 Ronin, Warner Bros.’ Sylvester Stallone-Robert De Niro comedy Grudge Match and Justin Bieber concert documentary Believe. 47 Ronin — costing $175 million to make and resulting in a sizeable loss for Universal, placed No. 9 Wednesday with $2.6 million for a paltry domestic total of $26.4 million. Grudge Match grossed $2.2 million for tepid earnings of $18.5 million. And Believe, coming in at No. 16, took in only $290,000 for a total $5.2 million.
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