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
But the curtains haven't rolled on 2013 yet. This Friday, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX.DL) 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.
Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.