NEW YORK -
On a busy pre-Christmas weekend at the box office, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," Peter Jackson's sequel, took in $31.5 million in its second weekend of release for Warner Bros., according to studio estimates Sunday. Though the film isn't matching the pace of the first "Hobbit" movie, "An Unexpected Journey," it's now made more than $400 million worldwide, including $96 million internationally over the weekend.
The "Hobbit" topped Will Ferrell's "Anchorman 2" sequel, which nevertheless opened strongly in second place. The Paramount Pictures comedy made $26.8 million over the three-day weekend and $40 million since opening Tuesday night.
David O. Russell's fictionalization of the 1970s Abscam investigation, "American Hustle," earned a robust $19.1 million in its first week of nationwide expansion. The Sony Pictures film, starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence, got a boost from its co-leading seven Golden Globes nominations.
The weekend box office was up nearly 30 percent over the same weekend last year.
But this year's holiday frame will be particularly competitive. The crowded field of movie openings Wednesday includes Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," the Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone comedy "Grudge Match," the Justin Bieber documentary "Justin Bieber's Believe" and Keanu Reeves' "47 Ronin."
One obvious casualty from the many options at the multiplexes was 20th Century Fox's "Walking With Dinosaurs," a 3-D attraction that hoped to draw moviegoers with digital dinosaurs. Made for $85 million, it fell flat with just $7.3 million over the weekend.