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'Hobbit' box office leader with $73.6M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Warner Bros. fantasy "Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" debuted at No. 1 at the weekend box office both domestically and internationally.

The film earned $73.6 million in U.S. ticket sales, per final numbers for the weekend box office announced by studios Monday. Though it took first place, "The Desolation of Smaug" fell short of its prequel's debut. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" opened this same weekend last year with $84.6 million.

But the sequel earned $135.4 million in international sales in select markets, like Germany and Korea, which surpassed international sales for the opening weekend of "An Unexpected Journey" in the same markets. Globally, "The Desolation of Smaug" has brought in $209 million.

Cooling off to the No. 2 position, Disney's animated tale "Frozen" earned $22.6 million in its third weekend, bringing its overall domestic ticket total to nearly $164.8 million. Lionsgate's holiday-themed "Tyler Perry's a Madea Christmas" came in third with $16 million.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," earned $13.7 million for the fourth-place slot, while Disney's "Thor: The Dark World" remained in the top five with $2.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $198.2 million.

With awards season well underway, The Weinstein Co.'s Oscar hopeful, "Philomena," starring Judi Dench, landed in the No. 8 spot at the weekend box office with $1.8 million. Dench received a best-actress Golden Globe Awards nomination for her performance as a nun in search of her son.

David O. Russell's con artist romp, "American Hustle," opened in limited release in just six locations, scoring $740,455 over the weekend and landing at No. 15. "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 Awards.

At $147.5 million, the overall gross of this weekend's ticket sales surpassed the $136.5 million gained the same weekend last year. With only a few weeks left in the year for moviegoers to populate the multiplex, the wide selection of impressive films fares well for eclipsing 2012's box office record of $10.8 billion.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak, are:

1. "The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug," Warner Bros., $73,645,197, 3,903 locations, $18,869 average, $73,645,197, 1 week.

2. "Frozen," Disney, $22,568,138, 3,716 locations, $6,073 average, $164,772,211, 4 weeks.

3. "Tyler Perry's a Madea Christmas," Lionsgate, $16,007,634, 2,194 locations, $7,296 average, $16,007,634, 1 week.

4. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," Lionsgate, $13,671,666, 3,563 locations, $3,837 average, $357,503,663, 4 weeks.

5. "Thor: The Dark World," Disney, $2,820,055, 2,264 locations, $1,246 average, $198,245,744, 6 weeks.

6. "Out Of the Furnace," Relativity Media, $2,425,978, 2,101 locations, $1,155 average, $9,574,440, 2 weeks.

7. "Delivery Man," Disney, $1,968,891, 2,041 locations, $965 average, $28,091,575, 4 weeks.

8. "Philomena," The Weinstein Company, $1,820,479, 835 locations, $2,180 average, $11,083,457, 4 weeks.

9. "The Book Thief," 20th Century Fox, $1,734,679, 1,158 locations, $1,498 average, $14,936,447, 6 weeks.

10. "Homefront," Open Road, $1,706,286, 2,103 locations, $811 average, $18,507,155, 3 weeks.

11. "Dallas Buyers Club," Focus Features, $1,174,269, 574 locations, $2,046 average, $14,301,134, 7 weeks.

12. "The Best Man Holiday," Universal, $1,055,690, 922 locations, $1,145 average, $69,019,695, 5 weeks.

13. "Nebraska," Paramount, $911,784, 250 locations, $3,647 average, $3,377,783, 5 weeks.

14. "Gravity," Warner Bros., $745,457, 503 locations, $1,482 average, $252,779,065, 11 week.

15. "American Hustle," Sony, $740,455, 6 locations, $123,409 average, $740,455, 1 week.

16. "12 Years a Slave," Fox Searchlight, $732,825, 497 locations, $1,474 average, $36,364,513, 9 weeks.

17. "Last Vegas," CBS Films, $606,753, 726 locations, $836 average, $61,757,975, 7 weeks.

18. "Saving Mr. Banks," Disney, $413,373, 15 locations, $27,558 average, $413,373, 1 week.

19. "Inside Llewyn Davis," CBS Films, $356,785, 15 locations, $23,786 average, $910,317, 2 weeks.

20. "Captain Phillips," Sony, $290,176, 323 locations, $898 average, $104,017,034, 10 weeks.

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by News Corp.; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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