Smaug set fire to the box office over the weekend, but its grosses were Frozen out by the first film's frosty reception, strong holdovers and, in the grand scheme of things, one pretty extraordinary limited opening. Nobody's gonna sniff at a $73.6 million opening, but The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug's (1) weekend debut was off a significant 13% from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's last December. That film's lukewarm audience reaction is probably to blame, though an A- Cinemascore for The Desolation of Smaug compared to an A for An Unexpected Journey is worrying for Smaug's long-term prospects. It'll surely fall short of its predecessor. Frozen (2) fell by just 28.6% weekend-on-weekend, though last weekend is, ofc, a notoriously low-grossing one (the weekend after Thanskgiving). Many holdovers posted declines of less than 50% too.
The Winner / Highest Opener: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($73,645,197)
Top Per-Theatre Average: American Hustle ($123,409)
It's all over here at Box Office Mojo, guys!