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Hobbit outpaces Anchorman

By ROB GOLUM AND JOE RICHTER BLOOMBERG NEWS

This article was published December 27, 2013 at 2:06 a.m.

left-to-right-will-ferrell-is-ron-burgundy-and-christina-applegate-is-veronica-corningstone-in-anchorman-2-the-legend-continues-to-be-released-by-paramount-pictures-a2-19097

(Left to right) Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy and Christina Applegate is Veronica Corningstone in ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES to be released by Paramount Pictures. A2-19097

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug collected $31.5 million for Time Warner and MGM to lead U.S. and Canadian ticket sales for a second straight weekend.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the TV newscaster spoof starring Will Ferrell, opened second with about $26 million, Rentrak said Sunday in a statement.

Hobbit outdueled Anchorman in the face of a marketing campaign, which, in addition to the usual television and radio appearances by the cast, included Ferrell doing a commercial in character for Chrysler’s Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle. The movie was forecast to generate $45 million in receipts for Paramount, the projection of BoxOffice.com.

In Anchorman 2, former Saturday Night Live star Ferrell returns as Ron Burgundy, a top-rated San Diego newsman from the 1970s. In the new installment, Burgundy heads to New York to start the first-ever 24-hour news channel.

Co-stars Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Ruddand David Koechner reprise their roles, with Applegate now as Burgundy’s spouse and the others as weatherman, reporter and sports correspondent.

Anchorman 2 was produced for about $50 million, according to IMDB.com, another industry researcher.

Hobbit is Peter Jackson’s fifth film based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The first Hobbit and three Lord of the Rings movies from 2001 to 2003 generated more than $3.9 billion in global box-office sales.

Martin Freeman returns as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins in The Desolation of Smaug.Ian McKellen reprises Gandalf, the wizard he portrayed in the first Hobbit film and the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movie picks up where the last one ended, with Baggins, Gandalf and their dwarf friends continuing the quest to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dragon Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch.

American Hustle, which finished fourth, collected sales of almost $18 million for Columbia as the film, nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards, expanded nationwide.

The movie, a fictionalized account of the Abscam scandal of the late 1970s, features Christian Bale as con man Irving Rosenfeld, who was forced to participate in an FBI sting operation. The film was forecast to generate weekend sales of $19 million, according to BoxOffice.com.

The cast includes Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. It was produced at an estimated cost of $40 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Also expanding to more theaters this weekend was Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, which collected sales of $9.3 million. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney, working to convince author P.L. Travers to let him produce a film based on her novel Mary Poppins.

Walking With Dinosaurs, the only other new film opening in wide release, finished in eighth place with sales of about $7 million for 20th Century Fox. The 3-D animated film is an immersive feature that puts audiences in the middle of a prehistoric world. It features the voices of Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban and John Leguizamo.

Frozen, the animated film from Walt Disney about two estranged princesses in an icy world, finished third, collecting about $19.6 million.

MovieStyle, Pages 30 on 12/27/2013

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