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Frozen back on box office peak

By BEN LIVESEY AND DEBARATI ROY BLOOMBERG

This article was published January 10, 2014 at 2:11 a.m.

frozen-pictured-olaf-2013-disney-all-rights-reserved

"FROZEN" (Pictured) OLAF. ?2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Frozen, Walt Disney Co.’s animated movie about two princesses in an icy world, returned to the top spot in ticket sales in its seventh weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

Frozen generated $19.5 million for the weekend, toppling The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which had held the lead for three weeks, researcher Rentrak Corp. said Sunday. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the horror sequel from Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, had $18 million and landed at second place in its debut.

With last weekend’s haul, Frozen has taken in $296.6 million in domestic theaters, second to only Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me 2 for an animated movie released in 2013. The film benefited from favorable reviews and a holiday release schedule light on family-friendly competition.

Frozen, which last led the box office on the weekend that ended Dec. 8, was made for $150 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It was projected to take in $20 million this past weekend, according to BoxOffice.com. It’s only the seventh movie in 30 years tofinish or jump back into the top position while in its seventh week of release, putting it in the company of such films as Driving Miss Daisy and Silkwood.

The film is the biggest hit for Disney’s namesake animation division since The Lion King in 1994, highlighting a resurgence at the studio, which is churning out hits again after the success of Tangled in 2010 and Wreck-It Ralph in 2012.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the fifth installment in the low-budget horror series, was the only debut in wide release last weekend. Like its predecessors, the movie eschews gore and special effects for suspense.

The film introduces new characters by shifting to a group of Hispanic teenagers in an apartment complex. When a reclusive woman in the complex dies, the teens discover a sinister plot.

The film garnered a 45 percent positive rating by Rotten-Tomatoes.com, a review aggregator.

Low-budget horror has been an effective strategy for Paramount and for Hollywood. The first four films in the Paranormal Activity franchise cost about $13 million total and generated $720.7 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

The new movie was projected to take in $13 million for Paramount, according to BoxOffice.com.

Among returning films, The Desolation of Smaug, the second of three films based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, made $15.6 million to take third place for Warner Bros. and MGM Holdings Inc. The film, released on Dec. 13, has generated $756.6 million worldwide. Its predecessor produced $1.02 billion in its theatrical run, with 70 percent from international markets.

The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, collected $13 million in its second weekend, to place fourth. The movie follows the real-life rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, who founded the 1990s firm Stratton Oakmont Inc. and spent 22 months in prison for securities fraud.

The movie has garnered Golden Globe nominations for best comedy and best actor in a comedy.

American Hustle, a fictionalized account of a 1970s scandal, took in $12 million for Columbia in its fourth weekend, to place fifth. The movie, featuring Christian Bale, is nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards.

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 01/10/2014

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