"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is crowned a new champion on Box Office this week. The Peter Jackson-directed movie easily takes over the first spot with an estimated $73.7 million, pushing last week's No. 1"Frozen (2013)" to the second spot.
It scores the fourth-biggest December opening ever, behind 2012's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" ($84.6 million), 2007's "I Am Legend" ($77.2 million), and 2009's "Avatar" ($77 million). It debuts just ahead of another Jackson-directed pic "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" which started with $72.6 million in December 2003.
The second installment of the "Hobbit" film series gets an A- from CinemaScore and receives a 73% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes. Opening in 3,903 theaters, it appeals to an audience comprising of 60 percent males and 40 percent females.
"The Desolation of Smaug" which has Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and Benedict Cumberbatch in the cast ensemble is also a strong player overseas. It collects around $131 million from 49 locations abroad, pushing its worldwide debut to $205 million.
"A Madea Christmas" opens at the third place with $16 million, marking a worst opening for any Tyler Perry movie. In summer 2012, "Madea's Witness Protection" posted a better start with $25.4 million.
Outside the top 10 are "American Hustle" and "Saving Mr. Banks" that sparked Oscar buzzes. The David O. Russell film rakes in an impressive $690,000 from six theaters only. With a 94% fresh rating, the star-studded film starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner will get a wide release next weekend.
Meanwhile, the historical dramedy about Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and Mary Poppins' author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) collects $421,000 from 16 locations. It has a 81% fresh rating.