Weekend Box Office: 'Frozen' Handily Beats 'Catching Fire' for Top Spot

Disney's Frozen was the top movie at this weekend's box office, Image source: Disney

Despite early calls for a close box office battle with Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Frozen, the odds simply weren't in favor of Lionsgate's (NYSE: LGF  ) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire this weekend.

Both films were estimated to bring between $30 million to $40 million in domestic ticket sales over the past three days. But only Frozen proved capable of doing so, earning approximately $31.6 million during its second weekend in the U.S., or a 53% decrease from its record-setting Thanksgiving debut. As it stands, Frozen has earned just over $190 million worldwide, already eclipsing Disney's lofty $150 million production budget for the animated film.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate's Catching Fire brought "just" $27 million during its third weekend stateside, good for a 63.6% week-to-week plunge. To its credit, however, Lionsgate's $130 million sequel did set the record a week ago for the largest-ever Thanksgiving weekend haul. In addition -- and with plenty of box office life remaining -- Catching Fire has already achieved a stunning $673.4 million global gross, which means it should have no trouble eclipsing the first Hunger Games' 24-week, $691.2 million total.

The other guys...

Finishing a distant third was Relativity Media's R-rated newcomer, Out of the Furnace, which arrived at the low end of expectations with just $5.3 million. Worse yet, I wouldn't expect Out of the Furnace to pick up steam going forward given its troublesome C+ CinemaScore, which indicates audiences left theaters underwhelmed.

Next, Disney's Thor: The Dark World continued running up the score, earning fourth place with its $4.7 million fifth-weekend haul. Disney's Marvel-inspired sequel has grabbed an impressive $610.3 million worldwide, or a nearly 36% improvement over the 16-week total of its 2011 predecessor.

Disney also secured fifth place with $3.8 million from another holdover in Delivery Man, which has shown inexplicable legs since its meager $7.9 million launch three weeks ago. All told, Delivery Man has earned a decent $26 million so far -- the vast majority from domestic audiences -- matching the entertainment giant's budget for the PG-13 comedy.

Tolkien fans rejoice

Image source: Time Warner

But the curtains haven't rolled on 2013 yet. This Friday, Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) Warner Bros. will bring the second installment of J.R.R Tolkien's most famous book to life in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Expectations are high as the first Hobbit film earned over $1 billion following its own December launch last year. But Time Warner should have nothing to worry about this time around as Smaug is enjoying high praise from early critics, who've gone so far as dubbing it a "huge improvement" over the first film thanks to both an increased number of action sequences and a "true cliffhanger" at the end.

That said, I wouldn't expect Time Warner and Smaug to have a significant negative impact on the holdover performance of Frozen, which caters to a fundamentally different group of movie-goers. However, Smaug could certainly slow the progress of Catching Fire, even if the effect is minimal considering Lionsgate's movie has already collected the majority of its worldwide total.

The battle doesn't end here

With all the focus on the big screen, it's easy to forget these companies are also fighting hard for your attention at home. The companies that prevail in this epic disruption could go on to earn their shareholders untold sums of money. And the companies that lose could very well end up in bankruptcy court within a matter of years. With this in mind, our top technology analysts created a groundbreaking free report that sorts out the likely winners from the losers. In doing so, they reveal the handful of companies that are best positioned to make their shareholders exceptionally rich over the next few decades. To download this invaluable free report before the rest of the market catches on, simply click here now.


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